Sir Simon Milton (1961-2011)

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Sir Simon Milton, London’s Deputy Mayor, yesterday evening (11 April).

Sir Simon epitomised better than anyone the quote from the past US President, Ronald Reagan, that “there is no limit to what you can achieve politically if you do not care who takes the credit”.

That is not to say that Simon was simply a back-room political operator. Indeed as a youthful, innovative and highly effective leader of Westminster City Council during 2000-2007 he was a prominent political figure in his own right. He was a notable political strategist who had few detractors but countless admirers. As Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor to Boris Johnson he rapidly earned the reputation as the power behind the throne. And his tragically early death one month before his 50th birthday will be a grievous loss to Conservative politics in the capital.

Simon was justly awarded a knighthood in 2006 and it was widely assumed that his valuable role at City Hall delayed a peerage and ministerial office at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Simon was always an honest and straightforward political operator who earned respect from all with whom he dealt.

A private man, Simon was also tremendously devoted to his mother and, for more than twenty years, to his partner Councillor Robert Davis with whom he celebrated a joyous civil ceremony four years ago which is fondly remembered by all who were there.