‘He was ahead of his time’: David Morris pays tribute to Mike Weatherley
I first met Mike Weatherley when I worked in the music industry 30 years ago and it was a shock to us both to meet again when we were elected in 2010. We were the same but older, in a different world. We loved it.
Mike had a short but brilliant Parliamentary career; he was David Cameron’s intellectual property tsar, a role he excelled at. He also worked tirelessly trying to get changes in legislation for secondary ticketing and to streamline the way artists get paid royalties in the digital age.
I always maintain that, had he not stepped down from Parliament in 2015, he would have been secretary of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Ministers still dip into what he was doing nearly 10 years ago. He was so ahead of his time.
Mike’s baby was his annual Rock the House competition, where he gave MPs the chance to champion musical talent in their constituencies. We had visits from Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy, Yngwie Malmsteen and many more. One year he arranged for most of Whitesnake to perform on the terrace, and Mike made sure I came out of retirement to play guitar with them.
Ministers still dip into what he was doing nearly 10 years ago
He had a high flying career when he left the House and lived part-time in LA, still hanging out with rock stars. Mike knew how to party and he did it well. We had dinner in the Commons the night before the first lockdown last year. He told me the ‘big C’ had come back in his lung. He quipped he didn’t even smoke, which made us both laugh.
We were texting a few days ago about our various ailments and making light of me not being able to go and see him as I’d “done my back in”. He signed off with “what a pair” we were.
Sadly, he died in the early hours of 20 May and I never got to see him. Heartbroken, I texted him: “Mate, I know you’re never going to read this but love ya and see you on the other side. You’re my big brother and always will be. Safe journey. Dxxx”
David Morris is Conservative MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale