Robin Cook, Former British Foreign Secretary, Dies at 59
Robin Cooke, a longtime British Labour minister who resigned from the Blair Cabinet in protest over the Iraq War, died today at the age of 59.
Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who quit Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet in 2003 to protest the Iraq war, died Saturday after collapsing on a Scottish mountain while walking with his wife. He was 59.
Scotland’s Northern Constabulary said Cook collapsed on Ben Stack mountain in the Scottish Highlands. He was taken by coast guard helicopter to a hospital in Inverness, where he was pronounced dead.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, filling in for a vacationing Blair, said Cook was “the greatest parliamentarian of his generation.” “He also made an enormous contribution to British politics in opposition and in government,” Prescott said.
Michael Howard, leader of the main opposition Conservative Party, said Cook’s political contribution had been “immense.” “He was a politician of principle who fought hard for the things he believed in,” Howard said.
Jack Straw, Cook’s successor as foreign secretary, said he was “devastated.” “Robin and I had been good friends for nearly 30 years and that friendship survived our policy disagreements over Iraq,” Straw said. “He was the greatest parliamentarian of his generation and a very fine foreign secretary. I deeply mourn his loss.”
Truly a shame. Whatever one’s view of the war in Iraq, Cook stood on principle and resigned rather than support a policy he strongly opposed. Certainly, 59 is too damned young to die.