Tributes paid to former peer Lord Lester, who died at 84

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Tributes paid to former peer Lord Lester, who died at 84

The human rights barrister campaigned for gender and racial equality legislation

Lord Lester
Lord Lester

Tributes have been paid to former peer and veteran human rights barrister, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, who died at 84.

The human rights icon, who took silk in 1975 and campaigned for gender and racial equality legislation, became known as the “architect of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976,” according to Blackstone Chambers.

The chambers said in a statement on Monday: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC on 8 August.

“Anthony Lester, who joined Blackstone Chambers (formerly 2 Hare Court) in 1963, was a greatly admired, respected and much loved member of Chambers and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family.”

Cross-bench peer and barrister Lord Anderson paid tribute to his “colleague, friend and inspiration.”

He wrote in a tweet on Monday: “From 60s civil rights work and 70s equality laws to Human Rights Act, free speech cases, civil partnerships and Defamation Act 2013, no one of his generation did more to shape the laws by which we live.”

Lord Lester, whose career highlights include advising Labour’s Gordon Brown, previously spoke about growing up in a Jewish family with refugee grandparents.

But he retired from the upper chamber in 2018 where he had sat as a Liberal Democrat peer – in the wake of historic sexual harassment allegations, which he denied.

The claims were investigated by a House of Lords committee, which recommended he be expelled. This was later reduced to a four-year suspension, which was itself blocked by fellow peers.


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