The sudden death last night of former Islington Council leader Steve Hitchins has brought grief to his many friends, colleagues and family.
A councillor for 16 years, the chair of a health trust for five and a lifelong friend and colleagues to so many, Steve Hitchins had a vigorous determination in his approach to politics that did huge amounts to improve public services in the borough as well as to help win many elections. Not afraid to take controversial decisions, he was often in the news, frequently successful and always up for the next debate.
My sadly last exchange of emails with him saw him full of ideas on what could and must be done next to win more elections.
Steve was married to Lib Dem peer, and former MEP and councillor, Sarah Ludford for over forty years. Their use of their own surnames produced one memorably bizarre moment at a Liberal Democrat conference when a Lib Dem MP, happily making small talk to one as the other passed by, thought he would be helpful by introducing them to each other.
There’s much that Steve achieved in his time in the Liberal Democrats, particularly as a pioneer in wanting to ensure the party took improving its diversity seriously. He didn’t only talk about it, he acted – and a string of talented, diverse people who he encouraged into politics is part of his legacy.
Thank you, Steve, and much love, Sarah.