Last year I had the pleasure of working with Lord Biffen on his autobiography. It was a characteristically honest account of his own life and his own failings. The childhood section was a pleasure to read, because although it was from a different era, it reflected my own rural upbringing in many ways, and like all good books, it sparked of many childhood memories of my own.
His account of the first few years in parliament was especially gripping, as he became an adherant of Powellism and had a testy relationship with Edward Heath.
John Biffen was perhaps too honest a politician for his own good. But as a failing, it's not a bad one to have.
Members of the Conservative History Group always appreciated his attendance at their meetings, where he would be ready with some great insight and a good joke. We will all miss him terribly.
My best wishes go out to Sara, John's wife, who has been a tower of strength to him throughout his long illness. They got married comparatively late in life but have been a totally devoted couple. I'm thinking of her today.
UPDATE: I've created a facebook group where you can leave tributes and 'vurtually' sign a condolence book HERE.
UPDATE: Margaret Thatcher has paid tribute to John Biffen. She said: "John was an outstanding Parliamentarian, a widely respected Leader of the House of Commons and a great British patriot."