THE leader of the Liberal Democrats has paid tribute to 'stalwart' Oxfordshire peer Lord Goodhart, who has died aged 83.

Tim Farron said the leading human rights lawyer, who was a founding member of the party's predecessor, the SDP, had left 'a lasting legacy that will be cherished by party members for decades to come'.

Lord Goodhart was described by Oxford Lib Dems as an 'important figure' locally.

He stood for the Oxford West and Abingdon seat in the 1992 General Election but lost to Conservative John Patten by about 4,000 votes.

It was later won by Lib Dem Evan Harris in 1997.

St Margaret's county councillor John Howson said Lord Goodhart had contributed 'much to the success of the local Party over almost a quarter of a century'.

The peer had practised as a barrister since 1959 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1979. He received a knighthood in 1989 and a peerage in 1997. 

Lord Goodhart was also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Farron, pictured, said: "Willie Goodhart was a founding member of the SDP and stalwart of the Liberal Democrats.

"He believed passionately in social democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In writing our party’s constitution, he has left a lasting legacy that will be cherished by party members for decades to come.

"I send my heartfelt sympathy to his wife Celia and his children Frances, Laura and Benjamin."

And Lib Dem lords leader Dick Newby said: "Willie will be very sadly missed by friends and colleagues in the Lords.

"He was a doughty campaigner for human rights, for Europe, and for a fairer society, issues which he promoted tirelessly in the Lords.

"He played a vital role in establishing the SDP and in its subsequent merger with the Liberal Party. He won the respect of all those with whom he worked and he will be remembered with great fondness."