Diana Maddock has died

Some incredibly sad news has come through this morning. Diana Maddock, winner of the Christchurch by-election in 1993 and a Lib Dem member of the House of Lords, has passed away.

Diana was a lovely woman. She was always willing to help and support others. I will miss her so much.

I first met her at a training session for women in the 1990s. She was kind, supportive and very frank about her own experiences.

Please feel free to share your memories of Diana in the comments.

All of us at LDV send our love to Alan and all her family.

There’s real affection in the tributes from senior party figures:

You can read more about her, and find out about her work as a councillor, MP, Party President and Peer on the party website:

Diana Maddock was born in 1945 and taught in Southampton, Bournemouth and Sweden until she had a family and became involved in politics in the mid 1970s.

Diana joined the Liberal party in 1976. She was elected top Southampton City Council in 1984, only giving up her seat when she was elected to Parliament at a by-election in 1993. On the council she was Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and had a particular interest in housing and energy conservation.

Diana served as Member of Parliament for Christchurch from 1993-1997. During that time she served on the communities of a number of Parliamentary Bills covering Housing, Finance and Building Societies. She was also Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats on housing, the family and women’s issues.

In 1994 Diana came out number 1 in the Private Members Bill Ballot. She chose the Home Energy Conservation Bill which she successfully piloted through all its Parliamentary stages to become the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995.

Diana has close associations with many national organisations concerned with housing and energy conservation and is active (is active) in All-Party Parliamentary groups concerned with these areas.

Diana has been a life peer since November 1997. She stood down as Housing Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords in 2004.

From 1998-2000 Diana Maddock was Federal President of the Liberal Democrat Party.
She was a member of Northumberland County Council 2005-8 and of Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council 2007-9.

She was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life 2003-9. In June 2001 she married Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith, the Lib Dem Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Lib Dems who knew her are paying tribute on Twitter:

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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12 Comments

  • This is very sad news. I first met Diana when she spoke to my Liberal Alliance student group at Southampton University in the mid-1980s. Later when I was first elected to Southampton City Council she was our Lib Dem group Leader, a position she’d held fo a number of years.

    She saw the Lib Dem City Council group grow during the early 1990s and then the Christchurch parliamentary by-election came along in the summer of 1993. It was a safe Tory seat but with a swing of 35.4%, the sixth largest by-election swing in British political history, Diana was elected with a 16,427 majority. She stood down from the City Council and made great contributions in the House of Commons, later the House of Lords and of course as Party President.

  • Such fond memories of the Baroness RIP. We invited her to launch the Newbury General Election campaign in 2001. Why Diana? She seemed surprised to be asked. She asked me why (she was no longer President) .. and then quickly said “wait, I think I have worked out” with a big smile on her face. A clear message to supporters that seats first won at by elections are never easy to hold.. as we sadly later found out in 2005. Thoughts with her close friends and family.

  • I remember talking to Diana at the Christchurch bye-election. She was a very nice person. RIP

  • I still remember the first leaflet printed for Diana – I think it was when she fought Bassett in the late 70s. In her photo she was wearing a teeshirt with a large stylised flower on it – strange how daring that seemed at the time. The growth of the Liberal group on Southampton with Diana, Margaret Singerman, Mark Inskip and Matthew Clarke was a result of classic community politics, hard work, and talented campaigners. Great years, sadly long gone.

  • Neil Hickman 27th Jun '20 - 7:11pm

    I seem to recall that it was Diana’s stunning win in Christchurch that prompted the BBC to end the custom of saying after a byelection “And if this swing were repeated across the country as a whole…”
    Because if Diana’s swing had been repeated across the country as a whole, the Tory who would have come closest to retaining his seat would have been John Major, who would only have lost Huntingdon by a majority of 10,000.
    If only.
    R.I.P.

  • richard underhill 27th Jun '20 - 10:04pm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Christchurch_by-election
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Beith
    In the leadership election Alan Beith, former deputy leader, wanted the party name to be Liberal Democrats.
    Paddy Ashdown wanted the name to be Democrats. A referendum of elected conference delegates chose Liberal Democrats. Inclusion of the word Liberal was an important part of this referendum.

  • I didn’t know Diana personally but I’ll never forget the night she won Christchurch. It was a hugely significant moment for the growth of our party in the 1990s, and to me she seemed to really personify the party at its best. Decent, friendly, hardworking, generally mild-mannered but could be fierce when fighting a point of principle.
    Best wishes to Alan, another quiet hero of our recent(ish) past.

  • suzanne fletcher 28th Jun '20 - 4:45pm

    So much could be, and has been, said about Diana. She was a Liberal Democrat to the core, kind, inspirational, and actually did what she talked about. A huge boost when she married Alan and came to the North East. Very much missed, tragic for Alan, and we must. What do we do? be kind to each other, and act out our Liberalism.

  • Very sad. Of all the candidates I ever worked for I got what I felt was the most genuinely personal thankyou note from Diana after the Christchurch by-election – a handwritten postcard written whilst sitting on Mudeford (spelling???) beach.

    She was also a long standing member of (as it then was) ALDC Standing Committee and hugely supportive to that organisation.

  • I am very sad to read this news. Diana was one of the nicest people I ever met through the party and her and Alan made one of the nicest couples. As her aide during the Christchurch campaign I will never forget the evening I spent with her and her family on the night of the election, waiting for the call that it was safe to come to the count. Diana was the only candidate who – when told she should get some sleep that evening as she would be up for most of the rest of the night and the morning shows – actually did what she was told. I then spent the evening with her daughter attempting to counsel her over her relationship problems, I am sure long forgotten by her. I loved that Diana always shared her daughters’ news with me after that and that we seemed to always be on the same side of the big party debates. She has been a fantastic party servant and I will miss her.

  • Andrew Warren 11th Jul '20 - 4:13pm

    I am really very sad about Diana’s death.
    I first met her when, having topped the Private Members Bill poll , she was mulling over which Bill to adopt. At the time, I ran the Association for the Conservation of Energy, and the previous year we had nearly succeeded in getting our Home Energy Conservation Bill through the Commons under Alan Beith’s guidance.
    He was convinced that one further concerted campaign could get the Bill enacted. So he set out to persuade his newest colleague to take up the cause. He W as obviously very persuasive. Not only did Diana take up the cause, but she skilfully succeeded in steering it onto the statute book where it remains , by common consent, the most valuable piece of legislation promoting energy saving since the war.

    Alan’s persuasion obviously went still further- and just a few years later they became husband and wife.
    Diana’s and my paths continued to cross over the subsequent quarter century. She seldom failed to remind me about how she was persuaded to take up the energy conservation cause, which she consistently championed in Parliament subsequently.

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