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PM leads tributes to Lord Roberts

David Cameron has led tributes to former Conservative minister Lord Roberts of Conwy, who has died aged 83, describing him as a "formidable champion" for Wales.

The Prime Minister said the peer, who as Wyn Roberts was a minister in the Welsh Office in the Thatcher and Major governments, had given "unstinting service".

Welsh Secretary David Jones said he was "arguably the greatest Welshman of his generation" and First Minister Carwyn Jones said he had been one of the leading figures in the nation's politics for 30 years.

Mr Cameron said: " It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Lord Roberts of Conwy.

"Wyn was one of the kindest and most compassionate colleagues I had the pleasure to work with. But his gentle nature could not disguise his skill as a front-line politician and his resolve to be a champion for his beloved Wales.

"As a Member of Parliament for almost three decades, Wyn gave unstinting service to the Welsh Office as a minister between 1979 and 1994. And in the Lords, Wyn was never one to watch events from the sidelines, returning to the front bench as a shadow minister for a decade after 1997.

"Wyn remained active until very recently, leading a review into Welsh devolution for me in 2008.

"The driving force behind the Welsh Language Act, Wyn often could be heard across Parliament talking to colleagues and guests in the language he felt so passionate about.

"Highly respected across the House, he was a devoted public servant, and a tireless ambassador for Wales."

Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha offered their condolences to Lord Roberts' widow Enid and their two sons.

He said: " Wales has lost a formidable champion; the Conservative Party has lost a great Conservative; but they have lost a devoted husband and father. My thoughts and prayers are with them."

Welsh Secretary Mr Jones said: "Wyn Roberts was arguably the greatest Welshman of his generation; a wise man and a kind and good friend."

Wales' First Minister Mr Jones said: "Lord Roberts was a leading figure in Welsh politics for more than 30 years. As well as a long career in the Welsh Office he will be particularly remembered for his work on the Welsh language and for piloting the Welsh Language Act in 1983.

"He will be greatly missed by Welsh politics as a whole."

Huw Jones, chairman of the S4C Authority, said former journalist Lord Roberts was a "guardian angel" for the Welsh language broadcaster.

He said: "Wyn Roberts was a guardian angel for the Welsh language and for S4C within the Conservative government of the 80s and 90s.

"Both were close to his heart and he did everything he could to promote and support them. His close interest continued when he became a member of the House of Lords and his wise counsel was priceless.

"Alongside his measured and careful style, he had humour and mischief in his eye and great personal warmth. He made a huge contribution at a critical time for the Welsh language and he will be greatly missed."

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