Monday, September 21, 2009

Piers Merchant

I've just arrived home from a dinner at Lancashire County Cricket Club to be told of the sad death of Piers Merchant.

I first met Piers in the '90s when he was MP for Beckenham and I was Deputy Director of Bromley Centre for Voluntary Service. I used to escort him around various charity events in his constituency, given the task largely because of my political sympathies I think.

Our paths crossed again in 2004 when he joined UKIP and stood in the North East in the EU elections and I stood in the North West. While working for UKIP I lobbied hard for Piers to be appointed General Secretary but to no avail, I'm not sure he ever ever actually wanted the job.

When I left UKIP last year I spoke regularly with Piers and greatly valued his wisdom and honesty at a very difficult time. He was honest, politically astute, a gentleman and a character. We never actually spent a great deal of time in each other's company, but it felt that way he was so easy to get along with and such good company when you did spend time with him.

He will be greatly missed, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.


JimDevon said...

How sad. I was hoping he would stand in June, he would have made a first class MEP.

Gregg Beaman's Blog said...

It is terribly sad.

I don't want to get overly political but I stood down from the NW list and discussed my concerns a great deal with Piers at the time, largely about the strategy of even having MEPs but also the state of the Party under the then leader. Piers shared my reasons for not standing despite many people in the SW asking him to stand.

Greg L-W. said...


Piers and I had mutual friends and over many years I had ribbed him as Roger Knapmann's Pole Dancing Consultant - having ensured neither he nor his charming wife would be offended right from thee outset.

Piers' loyalty to UKIP even when he was aware it was, as Gregg has made clear, in dire trouble for lack of competent leadership.

Piers never gave less than his best shot at anything he set out to do.

I know Piers will be sadly missed by many who respected him and his loving family. Helen will provide a guiding light of gret competence to their two children who are fortunately old enough to be aware of the enormity of the loss but also the calibre of the man.

My thoughts are with his family and my hopes are that they can find happiness in the memories and in their lives.

Greg L-W.

Steve Allison said...

I would like to agree with Gregg about Piers being a good man to discuss things with. Piers gave me some excellent advise over the years and I will miss our little chats. A good man taken before his time. RIP Piers

Gregg Beaman's Blog said...

If anything you worked closer with him than I did during his time in UKIP, it is sad indeed.

It may sound trite, but at least he is no longer suffering.