Thatcher-era cabinet minister, Lord Young, dies aged 90

Lord Young with Margaret Thatcher in 1987

Lord Young of Graffham, the businessman who was Margaret Thatcher’s right-hand man during the state privatizations of the 1980s, died yesterday.

The peer, 90, was a key Thatcher-era figure who held a succession of cabinet posts in the 1980s and famously never took a salary for his work.

A Conservative peer, he became secretary of state for employment in 1985, before being appointed secretary of state for trade and industry following the 1987 election.

He would later serve as a business adviser to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron while continuing to retain a key interest in education and youth employment.

A spokesperson for the family told The Telegraph last night: ‘As a family we are devastated at the loss of a much loved and adored husband, father, grandfather and friend, fondly known simply as Dad. Words cannot express how much it meant to all of us.”

David Cameron and Lord Young at 10 Downing Street

David Cameron and Lord Young at 10 Downing Street

Lord Young was recognized in the public arena by his familiar bow ties. A prolific contributor to public life, his latest article for The Telegraph was published on 7 December.

Earlier this year, it called for exams to be replaced with ongoing assessment.

Lord Leigh of Hurley, the Conservative party’s longtime senior treasurer, told The Telegraph: ‘David Young has been a role model for generations of Conservatives. Margaret Thatcher famously said that other people bring me problems, David brings me solutions.

“Such was his effectiveness decades later, David Cameron invited him back into government to help businesses grow and particularly the tech sector, where even well into his 90s he was active. “He never sought a salary, but he was proud to serve his country when asked.”

Originally a lawyer, David Young led a number of companies in the UK and abroad, including Cable and Wireless, and has devoted an enormous amount of his time and energy to philanthropic causes.

Sometimes referred to as a favorite of Mrs Thatcher, Lord Young began his rise through politics as chairman of the Manpower Services Committee and was made a Lord in 1984.

Lord Young was made a Fellow of the Order of Companions of Honor in the 2015 New Year Honours. He retired from the Lords earlier this year.

Lord Leigh added: “Lord Young has always been proud of his Jewish heritage, and was widely regarded for many years as the leader of the Jewish secular community.

“He was a devoted family man married to Lita for as long as he survives along with daughters Karen Judith and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He expressed his views on all sorts of geopolitical issues for the benefit of others until his last days.”

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