London, Oct 11 (IANS) Britain’s former Conservative chancellor Geoffrey Howe died on Friday night at the age of 88 after suffering a suspected heart attack, the BBC reported.
Howe, the chancellor for four years under former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, also served as deputy prime minister and leader of the House of Commons and was Thatcher’s longest-serving cabinet minister.
His resignation speech in 1990 was widely seen as a central factor in Lady Thatcher’s downfall as prime minister, reported Xinhua.
Prime minister David Cameron spoke highly of Howe, saying: “The Conservative family has lost one of its greats.”
Cameron said Howe had played a “vital” role in “turning the fortunes of our country around” as chancellor.
The prime minister described him as “the quiet hero of the first Thatcher government”.
His family said Howe died at his home in Warwickshire after attending a jazz concert with his wife Elspeth.
The BBC quoted a statement as saying: “There will be a private family funeral, followed by a memorial service in due course. The family would be grateful for privacy at this time.”