In the past few hours, I've been shocked by the news of the death of Robin Cook.
Remember his forensic dissection of the Tory government's policies on trading with Iraq - a magnificent speech that formed after just two hours of reviewing the Scott Report?
Ironically, we'll see less of that intelligent and intellectual attack more of his frontal assault on Blair''s war after he resigned as Leader of the House in 2003 - after which he received the applause of the House, a wholly exceptional event. It hurt him to resign from a Labour government, but he did so over a point of principle and there's no better way to go. Despite that disappointment, he stuck with the party, believing that things would get better and working to change things from within.
His private life was always interesting - Alistair Campbell is alleged to have advised him to leave his wife when the news of his affair with his secretary broke. Apparently, Robin was at the airport about to leave for a holiday with his wife when Alistair called him on the mobile. He was also famed for his love and knowledge of horse-racing, even acting as a tipster for the press - with varying reliability.
A principled and intelligent Labour man to the core, he will be missed.