British Politicians Pay Tribute to Late Former Minister Cecil Parkinson

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Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, center, with Cecil Parkinson, second from the right, in 1998. Parkinson has died, aged 84. Reuters Photographer

Cecil Parkinson, a former British cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher's government, has died aged 84 after a battle with cancer.

As chairman of the Conservative party, which governs the U.K. again today, he played a central role in masterminding its 1983 general election victory. Charming and handsome, he was a favorite of Thatcher's but had to resign from his later job as Trade and Industry Secretary when it emerged he had fathered a child with his ex-secretary Sara Keays.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron described Parkinson as "a man of huge ability," and said he had learned a lot from the former minister at the start of his own political career.

Figures from British politics on Monday shared memories of Parkinson and thoughts on his death:

David Cameron, U.K. prime minister:

1/3 I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cecil Parkinson. He was one of the towering Conservative figures in the 1980s.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 25, 2016

2/3 He was the first big political figure I worked for and I will never forget his kind words of support and encouragement.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 25, 2016

3/3 My thoughts and prayers are with Cecil’s wife, Anne, and their family at this sad time.

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 25, 2016

Malcolm Rifkind, former foreign secretary and fellow Thatcher cabinet member:

Rifkind told BBC News that Parkinson was "the most natural candidate" to succeed Margaret Thatcher as prime minister before his resignation. "John Major eventually filled the gap that Cecil Parkinson would have had," he said. "But Cecil Parkinson was in reality a Thatcherite while John Major, as Margaret Thatcher eventually discovered, was not nearly as close to her, as she had hoped and assumed."

Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun newspaper:

Three little known facts about Cecil Parkinson: born in Lancashire, the son of a railway worker, Labour party member at Cambridge.

— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 25, 2016

Many Twitter users are sharing this piece, which details an injunction Parkinson took out to prevent information emerging about his daughter with Keays:

Cecil Parkinson won an injunction re illegitimate daughter. It was so strict she couldn't be in her school photos: https://t.co/TockJeJa8e

— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) January 25, 2016

British Chancellor George Osborne:

Sad to hear of death of Cecil Parkinson. I worked with him when he was Party Chairman in 1997-8 - he was there in our hour of greatest need

— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) January 25, 2016

Conservative peer and journalist Daniel Finkelstein:

He was a wonderful boss. Funny, clever, a sense of proportion, with clear politics but also pragmatic. Loved him. https://t.co/SKb2bo24BD

— Daniel Finkelstein (@Dannythefink) January 25, 2016