Robin Cook's death

I prepared for media interviews on Blair’s blurtings – i.e. the proposed new terror laws. However, the shocking news of Robin Cook’s death bumps me off all the scheduled slots – appropriately.

The terror laws proposals will be around for quite a while but the untimely departure of Robin Cook needs proper respect. I am absolutely shocked by the news. Partly because I had suddenly joined his world – a world I had observed him in for years and he sat roughly opposite me in the Commons. Partly because he was not much older than me.

Partly because he looked slim and reasonably fit. Partly because I had been really looking forward to hearing his legendary oratory skills firsthand. But mostly because we needed his voice from the Labour benches – a voice which commanded respect and which rang out as Labour’s conscience – an echo from a bygone era when principles meant something.