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Remembering Shirley

April 13, 2021 7:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The death of Shirley Williams is heartbreaking news for the whole Liberal Democrats party.

Since the sad news was announced, Liberal Democrat members and figures from public life have been remembering Shirley and paying tribute to her.

We've collected a few of those memories here.

You can also share your memories of Shirley and add your name to the book of condolence here.

Our party leaders have paid tribute to Shirley

This is heartbreaking for our whole @LibDems family.

Shirley has been an inspiration to millions, a liberal lion and a true trailblazer.

Rest in peace, Shirley. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and your friends.

- Ed Davey MP 🔶🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) April 12, 2021

Shirley was a true inspiration. We will miss her greatly

- Daisy Cooper MP 🔶 (@libdemdaisy) April 13, 2021

Shirley Williams has died, aged 90

- Mark Pack 🔶 (@markpack) April 12, 2021

Shirley was a personal inspiration to me, sparking that initial interest in politics in the 1980s. She had the sharpest mind, a stubborn doggedness and a warm personality.

- Willie Rennie (@willie_rennie) April 12, 2021

Shirley Williams was a shining example of everything a politician should aspire to be - calm, principled, and always willing to speak truth to power.

Her passing is real loss for our party. She was a true friend to many in Wales and we are all the poorer for her passing.

- Jane Dodds 🏴🔶 (@DoddsJane) April 12, 2021

Many of our Parliamentarians said how much Shirley inspired them

So very very sad to learn of the death of Shirley Williams. To spend even a moment in her company was an opportunity to learn, to be inspired, and to experience immense warmth and kindness. RIP Shirley.

- Kirsty Williams (@Kirsty_Williams) April 12, 2021

Devastated to hear that Shirley Williams has died. She was an enormous personal inspiration and I will always be grateful for her kindness, humour and encouragement. Mother of the SDP and the Liberal Democrat Party, she was a trailblazing titan of politics. May she rest in peace

- Layla Moran 🔶 (@LaylaMoran) April 12, 2021

They say you should never meet your heroes - Shirley Williams was an exception.

She was joyful, inspiring, gentle, decent, tough, brave and determined.

She was unique with gracious humility and star quality all at the same time.

A lovely friend and an inspiring mentor.

- Tim Farron (@timfarron) April 12, 2021

Today @LibDems lost a huge and much loved figure who was an inspiration to so many of us. I was overwhelmed when Baroness Williams came to my campaign HQ in 2017. My thoughts and sympathy are with her family #ShirleyWilliams

- Christine Jardine (@cajardineMP) April 12, 2021

Tragic news. I never had the honour of meeting her personally but Shirley was truly inspirational - always full of such wisdom and compassion. A role model. She came to speak in #Twickenham a few years ago - standing room only and had us enthralled. RIP Shirley.

- Munira Wilson MP (@munirawilson) April 12, 2021

Desperately sad news. Shirley was a force of nature for decades in our politics. She had a razor-sharp political mind, personal warmth and enthusiasm that made her a natural campaigner. The Liberal Democrat family has lost a true giant and UK politics will be poorer for her loss.

- Alistair Carmichael MP (@amcarmichaelMP) April 12, 2021

So sorry to hear that Shirley Williams has died. Her role in the Gang of Four that founded the SDP and eventually created the @LibDems was critical.
I had hoped to finally meet her at a @LibHistoryToday event last year but it was not to be. Thoughts with her family and friends.

- Wendy Chamberlain MP (@wendychambLD) April 12, 2021

Another day of sad news.

Shirley Williams lived such an extraordinary and full life. She was an inspiration to anybody who was lucky enough to meet her.

She will be greatly missed.

- Wera Hobhouse MP 🔶 (@Wera_Hobhouse) April 12, 2021

Shirley was a charismatic, committed and fearless politician who believed in a fairer society and Britain's European destiny.
She was my inspiration and mentor. A truly great individual.

- Dick Newby (@RichardNewby3) April 12, 2021

And some of those who had worked with her over the years also shared their memories

Very sad to hear of the death of Shirley Williams, a tower of social democratic and liberal politics. Her vision of a mixed UK economy at the heart of Europe provoked me and so many to leave Labour in the 80s. Her intellect, emotional intelligence and good humour are a huge loss.

- Vince Cable (@vincecable) April 12, 2021

Every word of this -Shirley Williams' final speech to the House of Lords four years ago. It feels like she is describing a different world given the attack the institutions she mentions are under today. She made a big difference when she was among us RIP

- ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) April 12, 2021

Very sad to hear of the death of Baroness Shirley Williams, one of Parliament's true trail blazers. When I interviewed her for my book she was full of incredible (and eye-opening) anecdotes like this one

- Sophy Ridge (@SophyRidgeSky) April 12, 2021

Very sad Shirley Williams has died. I was lucky to be taught by her at Harvard and to forge a friendship across the political divide in politics. Kind, eclectic with the sharpest of minds she was a female pioneer and a giant of the political centre ground

- David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 12, 2021

So, so sad that Shirley has passed away. Her warmth, commitment to progressive ideals and, above all, her wisdom were a constant inspiration down the years to so many.

- Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) April 12, 2021

I feel so lucky to have enjoyed her wise advice and cheerful company. Gloriously unfussed by convention, and always generous, Shirley was loved and adored among Liberal Democrats and beyond, and will be hugely missed. (2/2)

- Jo Swinson (@joswinson) April 12, 2021

Another extraordinary thing about Shirley Williams. As prisons minister, in 1966, she wanted to find out what life was really like for women inside: so she persuaded the authorities to lock her up in Holloway on a pretended prostitution charge. Who would do that now?

- Andrew Marr (@AndrewMarr9) April 12, 2021

Many of our members added their own tributes

Thoughtful, compassionate, intellectual and objective. Our family of liberals & social democrats is much the poorer tonight. She fought to level the playing field through equality of education and ensuring social democracy a place on the map. Rest in peace #ShirleyWilliams

- Cllr Humaira Ali (@cllrhumaira) April 12, 2021

Heartbroken to hear the news of Shirley Williams. She was a trailblazer and a titan of liberalism and social democratic principles. An insurmountable loss, not just for Liberal Democrats, but British politics as a whole. Shirley's legacy will live on and continue to inspire.

- Dominic Buxton (@DominicBuxton) April 12, 2021

Shirley spent a few days in Scotland ahead of #indyref in 2014. I met her many times but this is the only photo of the two of us that exists as far as I know. She was my first political hero. And she totally disproved the rule about meeting your heroes.

- Caron Lindsay 🔶 (@caronmlindsay) April 12, 2021

Shirley Williams was a committed fighter & campaigner for social democracy & liberalism. To mark Shirley's 90th Birthday last year the @socdemgroup published a series of essays. Including this one I wrote about her tenacious battles to get into Parliament

- Michael Mullaney 🔶 (@miketmullaney) April 12, 2021

Shirley has been an inspiration to millions. She had a limitless empathy only too rare in politics today; she connected with people, cared about their lives and saw politics as a crucial tool to change lives for the better.

If you haven't added your name to the Book of Condolence yet, please do take a few moments to do so: