Hugh Berrington

We learnt yesterday that Professor Hugh Berrington, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Newcastle University has sadly died, aged 81.

He was one of the first to attempt to study parliament, and especially the House of Commons, in a systematic way. His DPhil thesis was on cohesion in the late-nineteenth century, and his work on Early Day Motions as an measure of the views of MPs was ground-breaking. Like most ground-breaking work, it was dismissed at the time by some (most famously by Richard Crossman), but both the 1961 and 1973 volumes are now recognised milestones in the study of Parliament.

He officially retired in 1994, but carried on teaching at Newcastle. In 2005 the Political Studies Association awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sharp up until the end, he was a keen letter-writer to newspapers, always eager to demolish myths about the way the House of Commons worked, especially those held by people who believed in golden ages that never were.

He was a helpful and thoughtful friend and colleague to this research project and its team, and he will be missed.