Burnham-On-Sea’s former MP Tessa Munt has paid tribute to veteran politician and Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Shirley Williams, who died on Monday (April 12th), at age 90.

Shirley visited Burnham-On-Sea several times over the years, including to the town’s Frith House with Tessa Munt in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

Her career in politics spanned more than 50 years: she first entered Parliament as the Labour MP for Hitchin in 1964.  She was part of the “Gang of Four” who quit the party to found the Social Democratic Party.

She later went on to support the SDP’s merger with the Liberal Party, which led to the creation of the Liberal Democrats in the late 1980s. She retired from political life in 2016, after leading the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

Tessa Munt, who was Burnham’s Liberal Democrat MP from 2010–15, says: “She was a wonderful friend and a brilliant mentor to me who will be hugely missed.”

“She was one of the first people I met when I joined the party. When I explained that I was planning to become an MP, she introduced me to the right people and helped me at every step of the way, often sending letters.”

“She was a very dedicated community campaigner, and a fantastic speaker who always talked common sense and was very understated. She was the best Prime Minister we never had.”

She recalls: “Whenever I brought her to Somerset we always had to make a detour to go through Cheddar because her grandson loved real Cheddar – she was very down to earth and kind.”

Pictured: Top, Baroness Shirley Williams with former Burnham MP Tessa Munt and, above, with Burnham town councillor Cllr Helen Groves 

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