Lord Waddington, free speech defender: 1929-2017

Lord Waddington, a tireless supporter of Christian values and freedoms, has died, aged 87.

The Lancashire-born barrister turned politician served as Home Secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s Government, leader of the House of Lords and latterly as Governor of Bermuda.

During his time in the Lords, he worked alongside The Christian Institute in campaigns to uphold free speech. He also opposed the weakening of cannabis laws and frequently spoke out in support of religious liberty, and in defence of the UK’s Christian heritage.

Free speech protection

In 2008, when the Government proposed a ‘hate speech’ law, which threatened to criminalise criticism of homosexual acts, Lord Waddington secured a vital amendment to protect free speech.

Known as the ‘Waddington amendment’, it made sure that “discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices” were not covered by the new offence.

Lord Waddington spoke to The Christian Institute in 2009, when he stressed the importance of Christians standing up for free speech and religious liberty.

’A great man’

Deputy Director for Public Affairs at the Institute, Simon Calvert, said: “The last time I saw Lord Waddington we spoke of his faith in Christ and the hope of heaven.

“He was a great man and also a gentle man who deeply loved his family.

“Lord Waddington was an extremely committed and capable defender of Christian values and freedoms. I watched him at close quarters working tirelessly to win over his colleagues in the House of Lords.

“It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to be able to work with him.”

Family

Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to Lord Waddington, remarking upon his “long and distinguished career in public service”, and saying he would be sadly missed.

“He combined the sharp intelligence of a Queen’s Counsel with the wit of a proud Lancastrian,” she said.

Lord Waddington is survived by his wife Gillian, with whom he had three sons and two daughters.

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