Robin Cook

Like every one I’m obviously shocked by Robin Cook’s sudden and untimely death.

His speech on resigning from government over his principled objection to the Iraq war bears re-reading several times over however, having just watched the BBC News report, which included footage of his closing remarks in this speech what was most striking, and moving, was his obvious regret that events had brought him to that resignation, not because it meant the loss of his political office but because it came about because the government, a Labour government, had betrayed principles that he not only held dear but that felt went to core of the Labour Party itself.

Cook, its sad to reflect, was something of a rarity in the modern era. A politician who could back up his pronouncements with rigorous intellectual argument and who did not shy away from explaining himself and the foundations of his views.

Parliament – no, British democracy – is all the poorer for his passing.