Senior Conservative MP Dame Cheryl Gillan Has Died After “Long Illness”
Dame Cheryl Gillan passed away at the weekend following a 'long illness' (Parliament.UK)
Conservative MP and former Cabinet minister Dame Cheryl Gillan died at the weekend following a long illness, party chairman Amanda Milling has announced.
The 68-year-old, who was Welsh secretary between 2010 and 2012, had been the MP for Amersham since 1992.
Milling said: “It is with great sadness that I have to announce The Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan DBE MP passed away at the weekend. Cheryl had been ill for some time, but battled her illness with great stoicism and grace.
“Cheryl was a dedicated parliamentarian for many decades, serving in the Cabinet and she made a huge contribution to public life and our Party.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl’s family and friends.”
Boris Johnson shared his condolences this afternoon. “I’m very sad to hear the news of the death of Dame Cheryl Gillan," the Prime Minister tweeted.
"She was a great servant to the people of Chesham and Amersham, to the Conservative Party and to the country as Secretary of State for Wales.”
He added: "Always full of wise advice and good humour, she was much loved on all sides of the House of Commons and will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.”
A popular figure in her party, Gillan was a noted anti-HS2 campaigner and was awarded a damehood in 2018 for her services to politics, having served as a vice-chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers for several years.
A number of senior politicians have paid tribute, including the home secretary Priti Patel, who tweeted: “The saddest news about the passing of Dame Cheryl Gillan.
“A remarkable parliamentarian and pioneer for many women in Westminster. A dear and compassionate friend and colleague who was much loved by us all. My sincere condolences to her family and loved ones.”
The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Very sad to hear that Dame Cheryl Gillan has passed away. I worked with Cheryl on a number of issues.
"She was respected across the House and a great champion for her constituents. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
Conservative former minister Tracey Crouch, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, said: “I'm heartbroken to hear the desperately sad news that my colleague Cheryl Gillan has passed away.
“She had been a great source of strength as we went through chemo together. When she told me she was dying I told her all the nice things I would say so she knew.
“She was an incredibly inspirational women in politics who fought for the things she believed in. She was always kind and helpful to us newbies.
"She had oodles of wisdom from her years as an MP which she shared willingly. I shall miss her greatly.”
Trade secretary Liz Truss said: "Very sorry to hear the sad news about Dame Cheryl Gillan. She was a brilliant Parliamentarian, a kind colleague and great fun.
"We will miss her. All my thoughts with her family and loved ones."
Labour MP and former minister Angela Eagle tweeted: "This is very sad news - Dame Cheryl was elected the same year as me - we both played cricket for the Commons - the first some MPs to do so, RIP and many condolences to her family and friends."
The Liberal Democrat's Jamie Stone said: "Very sad to hear that we’ve lost Dame Cherly Gillan.
"We were in different parties, but I found her most civil and thoughtful. The House will be a poorer place without her."
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "So sad to hear we have lost Dame Cherly Gillan. One of the warmest and most generous hearted people in the House of Commons.
"She was a formidable campaigner for autistic people but also the definition of British stoical good humour - an enormous credit to her party and to Parliament."
The Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Gillan's "passing leaves a big hole in all our lives".
"She was someone who drew people to her because of her warm, sunny disposition and good sense of humour," he added.
"An assiduous attendee of debates, Dame Cheryl never passed up an opportunity to speak against the proposed high speed rail link HS2. She will be sorely missed."