Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Reception to honour Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL 80th birthday Monday 20 January 2014 at the Reform Club

I was delighted to go to Sir Robert Worcester's celebratory birthday party which was attended, as one can imagine, by practically every luminary of the political and business world. 
No General Election in this country could possibly take place without commentary from the founder of MORI. Despite being American by birth Sir Robert was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in 2005 in recognition of his 'outstanding services rendered to political, social and economic research and for contribution to government policy and programmes'.
I know Bob ("never Sir Bob - that's Geldof") best through us both serving many years on the Council of the University of Kent, he as Chancellor and me as a Council member. He is visiting Professor of Government at the LSE and also of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College. Most importantly he is Chairman of the Magna Carta 2015 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.  Bob spoke on that fascinating topic as my guest at the Marketors Court Dinner in December.
I was delighted to catch up with many MPs, Ministers, business leaders and media moguls. I was listed by Bob as "Church Commissioner" in the evening's printed programme so received a number of congratulations from a wide spectrum of those attending.  I very much enjoyed speaking with Eleanor Laing, Deputy Speaker and Tessa Jowell, and other old friends from the House of Commons, along with Sir Peter Bottomley, who gave a glowing tribute to Bob's work. I also caught up with a number of Peers, including Lords Clement-Jones, Quentin Davies and Michael Howard.  I was also pleased to meet up with my old friend John Pullinger, House of Commons Librarian.
Sir Robert and Lady Margaret are as busy as ever, living in Allington Castle, their magnificent Kent home. When asked during the evening if he was thinking of retiring, the firm answer from octogenarian Bob was 'no'!

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