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 Cook Dies (AP)

Photo: Britain's former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook speaks during a press conference in London in this Monday, Aug. 24, 1998, file photo. Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook was airlifted to a hospital after collapsing on a Scottish mountain, British media reported Saturday Aug. 6, 2005. (AP Photo/Danielle Smith) 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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    And the moonbats mention Karl Rove in 4… 3… 2… 1…

    Sorry that was crass. If only it weren’t so true.