Lord Ezra, oldest sitting peer in the House of Lords, dies aged 96
The oldest sitting peer in the House of Lords has died aged 96, it has been announced.
Liberal Democrat Lord Ezra was remembered as a "true gentleman who will be sorely missed" after news of his death was confirmed in the House of Lords.
He joined the Liberals as a member in 1936 and became a life peer on February 2 1983.
Lord Ezra was involved in the coal industry for 35 years and chaired the National Coal Board for more than a decade.
He had been on a leave of absence from the Lords since November 30 this year.
Sighs could be heard from peers as Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza informed them of Lord Ezra's death.
She said: "On behalf of the House I extend our condolences to the noble lord's family and friends."
Jim Wallace, the Lib Dem leader in the Lords, said in a statement released later: "Derek Ezra was a stalwart of the energy industry and a lifelong Liberal and Liberal Democrat.
"After the Second World War, he joined the newly formed National Coal Board (NCB).
"He remained in the coal industry for 35 years, during the last 11 of which he was chairman of the NCB.
"Derek joined the Liberal party in 1936 while at university.
"He became a Liberal Democrat peer in 1983 and became the party's spokesperson for energy matters in the House of Lords.
"He continued to raise issues of fuel poverty and energy security and supplies until last year, attending the House of Lords as often as he could.
"We will miss his forensic knowledge of energy matters, and his wise counsel.
"He was a true gentleman who will be sorely missed by his friends in the party and the Lords."