Lord Henry Plumb, Britain’s only Speaker of the European Parliament, has died aged 97.
The former Conservative politician was president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) from 1970 to 1979 and was elected MEP for the Cotswolds in 1979.
He remained a Member of the European Parliament until 1999 and served as its President from 1987 to 1989.
NFU President Minette Batters paid tribute after her death on Friday to the organization’s “greatest” leader.
“British agriculture has lost one of its greatest supporters and the NFU has lost its greatest president,” Ms Batters said.
“There was no one more passionate about British agriculture than Lord Plumb and he remained a great champion of the sector throughout his life.
“He worked with constant energy and determination to ensure that the importance of agriculture was recognized by policy makers and continued to highlight the importance of the sector throughout his tenure in the House of Lords. .”
Lord Plumb was knighted in 1973, became Chancellor of Coventry University between 1995 and 2007 and retired from the House of Lords in 2017.
His family hailed from Cheshire and had farmed for several generations, with young Henry taking over the management of his father’s dairy farm at Coleshill in Warwickshire after his death in 1952.
Ms Batters said: ‘He was a truly remarkable man. He was committed, fearless and the nicest man you could ever meet.
“His loss will be deeply felt and our condolences go out to his family at this sad time.”
Science Minister George Freeman tweeted that Lord Plumb was a “great man”, adding that it was “a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with him and to have gotten to know him in the 90s”.