Jeremy Thorpe Unveiled
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 15th July, 2009
The great, the good and the sometimes naughty of the old Liberal Party were out en masse in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House at Westminster this evening, for the unveiling of a portrait bust of former party leader Jeremy Thorpe, as well as a preview of the three latest (and final) acquisitions of busts of 20th century Prime Ministers intended for the Commons lobby: Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Andrew Bonar Law and Neville Chamberlain (the most stunning portrayal being that of Neville Chamberlain, apparently only on loan from Birmingham, but hey). The evening was introduced by Hugo Swire, MP, Chairman of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art. Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader — barely old enough to remember Jeremy’s halcyon days as a politician — gave an amusing and nicely-balanced speech, while his predecessors Ming Campbell, Charles Kennedy and David Steel brushed shoulders with various Grimonds and Bonham-Carters. The Thorpe bust will be displayed in the Grimond Room in Parliament.
John Bercow, the new Mr Speaker, was both gracious and genuinely enthusiastic in his lauding of JT as one of the political stars of the 1960s and 1970s. Mr Bercow unveiled the bust — a cast from an original by sculptor and Twickenham Rugby Club enthusiast, Avril Vellacott, which she made shortly before JT’s first marriage to Caroline Allpass (who was tragically killed in a car accident) and which still graces the Thorpe home in Orme Square — by pulling on one tassled cord while Jeremy, in a wheelchair, tugged gently on another. Jeremy, despite long years of crippling Parkinson’s disease, then astonished everyone by giving a 10-minute speech, via a lapel mike. He paid particular tribute to his second wife and loyal companion, Marion (who was sitting slightly tearfully in another wheelchair beside him) and declared firmly that he intended to campaign vigorously for the LibDems in the run-up to the forthcoming general election. Indomitable, or what?
This entry was posted on Wednesday, 15th July, 2009 at 9:08 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Tagged: Andrew Bonar Law, Attlee Suite, Avril Vellacott, Bonham-Carter, Caroline Allpass, Charles Kennedy, David Steel, Grimond, House of Commons, Hugo Swire, Jeremy Thorpe, John Bercow, Liberal Party, Marion Thorpe, Ming Campbell, Neville Chamberlain, Nick Clegg, Orme Square, Parkinson's disease, Portcullis House, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Twickenham Rugby Club. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.