Death of former Tory minister

Tue, Mar 6, 2012, 00:00

The British politician, author, barrister and constitutional expert Lord St John of Fawsley has died at the age of 82.

As Norman St John-Stevas, he served in the government of Edward Heath as minister for education and the arts and was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet as leader of the Commons. He created the select committee system. He was sacked by Lady Thatcher in 1981, as she began her clear-out of the so-called “wets” in her administration. He was created a life peer in 1987.

He was a prolific author and a prominent Catholic, a chairman of Booker Prize judges and the editor of the definitive edition of the literary works of the Victorian constitutionalist Walter Bagehot.

He derived his double-barrelled name from adding to the surname of his father, the Greek civil engineer Stephen Stevas, the middle name of his mother, Kitty St John O’Connor, who came from an auctioneering family in Castleisland, Co Kerry.

A family spokesman said he died at his home in London on Friday after a short illness.