Lord Tristan Garel-Jones, who served as Watford MP for 18 years, has died aged 79.
He is pictured here with Matthew Cawthorne, chairperson of Watford Conservatives, and former chairperson Linda Topping.
Born at Gorseinon, Swansea in 1941, he moved to Llangennech to attend a Welsh-speaking school and was sent to King’s School, Canterbury in 1948 after his father moved to Madrid to teach English.
He later returned to Madrid to start a language school with his father where he met and married his wife Catalina.
In 1970 he moved to London and quickly became active in the Conservative Party. In October 1974, he stood for election in Watford but lost by 3,957 votes.
In 1978, he was appointed assistant to party chairman Lord Thorneycroft and just a year later, he was elected MP for Watford in the year Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.
In the 1983 election his majority rose to 12,006 and he was promoted to Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.
In July 1988, Lord Garel-Jones was promoted again to deputy chief whip and in 1990, he was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign Office.
He played a key role in negotiating the Maastricht Treaty, rejecting attempts to turn Europe into a superstate.
Before the 1997 General Election however, when he left the Commons and became a life peer, he called for the adoption of the Euro.
Dean Russell, Watford MP, led the tributes.
He said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Tristan Garel-Jones’ passing. He was a truly great man and a role model for any Member of Parliament – caring, passionate and immensely hardworking. He truly cared for Watford and even after all these years was still actively involved in our local association as President and as part of many other local organisations. My thoughts are with Tristan’s family at this difficult time.”
Matthew Cawthorne, Chair of Watford Conservative Association, said: “On behalf of Watford Conservative Association, I would like to extend deep sympathy to Lord Garel-Jones’ family, and great appreciation for his long and distinguished service to our town. As President, he brought stability to our Association with a twinkle in his eye. We shall miss him greatly”.
Binita Mehta, deputy chairman of the association said in Watford he will be remembered with great and lasting affection as a very popular and highly effective Member of Parliament until he stood down in 1997.
She commented: “Tristan’s many achievements for our town included raising the funding for the construction of Watford’s first mosque on the A41 North Western Avenue.
Lord Garel-Jones is survived by his wife Catalina, their four sons and a daughter.
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