FORMER Salisbury MP Robert Key – described as ‘the best of Salisbury’ – has passed away at the age of 77.
Mr Key was the Conservative member of Parliament between 1983 and 2010 and was awarded the freedom of the city in 2017.
Current Salisbury MP, John Glen, was among those to pay tribute to Mr Key.
He said: “Very sad news today to hear of the passing of Robert Key. For 27 years in Parliament he represented the people of Salisbury with dedication, distinction, and a strong ethos of public service.
“Rob was the very best of Salisbury, always thinking of what was in the interest of our city – from his three ministerial roles in government, his position as a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and his work with Salisbury Cathedral.
“I was delighted to see Rob receive the rare honour of Freedom of the City from Salisbury City Council at the Guildhall in December 2017 – a fitting tribute to his service.
“I know many Salisbury residents will sorely miss Rob’s unique contribution to our public life but will always be grateful for the impact he had on all our lives.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue and their three children at this difficult time.”
Mr Key was a chair of governors at Salisbury Cathedral School, as well as serving on the Salisbury Cathedral Magna Carta 800th Board in 2015.
The flag at Salisbury’s Guildhall is being flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.
A Harnham Parish Council spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Robert Key, previous MP for Salisbury and a Harnham resident who worked hard to improve life for everyone around him.
“May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”