Tributes to ‘best of Salisbury’ former MP

Robert Key, MP for Salisbury between 1983 and 2010, has died at the age of 77.

He was elected six times and served as an under secretary of state in three governmental departments – Environment, Transport and National Heritage, as well as sitting on a number of house committees.
In 2015, he chaired the Salisbury Cathedral Magna Carta 800th Board in Salisbury Cathedral. In 2017, the City Council awarded him the Honorary Freedom of the City at a full council meeting held at the Guildhall.
He was also Chair of Governors at Salisbury Cathedral School.
Salisbury City Council announced that it would be flying the Guildhall’s flag at half-mast as a mark of respect, adding: “We are saddened to hear of the death of Mr Robert Key. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

Current Conservative MP for Salisbury, John Glen, took to social media to pay his respects, adding his, ‘thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue and their three children at this difficult time’.
He added: “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.”
Paul Sample, who stood against him at the 1992 election, said: “I first met Robert Key in one of the many corridors of the Houses of Parliament. I think he must have been on his way to choir practice. He had a wonderful voice.
“Robert had recently been elected as the MP for Salisbury and I was the recently appointed research assistant to the Parliamentary Liberal Party. I didn’t tell him I was going to come home to Salisbury to fight the seat. In the end I stood against him nine years later at the 1992 General Election.”
Salisbury’s mayor, Tom Corbin, tweeted: “I’m very sorry to hear that Robert Key has passed away.
“Many people like me will have known him as a very well respected MP for Salisbury (1983-2010) and I had the privilege of being present when he was awarded Freedom of the City of Salisbury in 2017.”

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