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Robin Finlayson Cook


1946 - 2005

Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Rt. Hon. Robin Cook MP

Politician. Born in Bellshill (North Lanarkshire), Cook was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School, the Royal High School (Edinburgh) and the University of Edinburgh. He was a member of the Edinburgh Council (1971-74) before becoming Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central (1974-83) and Livingston (from 1983). In opposition he initially took on the health portfolio (1989), but became foreign affairs spokesman in 1994 and Foreign Secretary in the Labour administration elected in 1997. A reshuffle in 2001 saw him demoted to Leader of the House of Commons. Cook spectacularly resigned in protest to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and became an out-spoken critic of the British foreign policy from the back-benches. However, it was thought that he would return to the Cabinet in a post-Blair administration.

Cook was the subject of much press attention during his bitter divorce, prior to his remarriage in 1998. He was a noted follower of horse racing and has included his tips in a regular column for the Glasgow Herald newspaper.

Cook suffered heart failure while walking on Ben Stack (Sutherland) and was pronounced dead on arrival at Raigmore Hospital (Inverness). His funeral took place in St. Giles Kirk (Edinburgh) and he lies buried in Grange Cemetery, where his epitaph reads "I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war."

Cook will be remembered as an intelligent and principled politician who was respected and popular amongst his peers.


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