The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition)
Politicians pay tribute to ‘inspiring trailblazer’ Shirley Williams
Shirley Williams, the former Labour cabinet minister who broke away from the party to form the SDP, has died, her current party, the Liberal Democrats, announced. She was 90.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey paid tribute to Baroness Williams of Crosby as a “true trailblazer” who inspired millions.
As a Labour minister, Lady Williams, served in the governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan in the 1970s rising to become education secretary.
However, in 1981, having become disillusioned with Labour’s drift to the left had under Michael Foot, she was one of the original “Gang of Four” to leave the party to form the new centrist SDP.
Sir Ed said her bravery continued to inspire Liberal Democrats to this day, saying: “Shirley has been an inspiration to millions, a Liberal lion and a true trailblazer. I feel privileged to have known her, listened to her and worked with her.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie described Shirley Williams as a “force of nature”. He said: “Shirley was a personal inspiration to me, sparking that initial interest in politics in the 1980s. She had a persistent hunger to shape opinion, lead debates and influence the direction of the world from education to Europe to nuclear disarmament.”
Former Liberal leader David Steel also paid tribute to her, saying: “Shirley was a dear friend and colleague – a wonderful communicator and inspirer and a true humanitarian.”