Politicians and journalists pay tribute to 'brilliant and funny writer' Simon Hoggart

Friends, colleagues and politicians have paid tribute to journalist and wit Simon Hoggart who has died aged 67 from pancreatic cancer.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger:

"A daily reading of his sketch told you things about the workings of Westminster which no news story could ever convey. He will be much missed by readers and his colleagues."

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, who was a regular target of Hoggart's sketches:

"Such sad news. He teased me mercilessly but always kindly."

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston (speaking to Press Gazette):

“Simon was a wonderfully witty, precise writer, a reporter who always rose to the occasion – in Northern Ireland, North America and Parliament. But he was also a warm, concerned colleague and, during the last few years one of the bravest I've been privileged to work with.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair: "It's a very sad moment for UK journalism. Simon was an outstanding commentator and writer with extraordinary wit, humour and insight. My deepest condolences and sympathy to all his family."

Associate editor of the Daily Mirror Kevin Maguire (speaking to Press Gazette):

"Simon was a fantastic journalist. He understood politicians and politics and turned a beautiful phrase. You enjoyed Simon's parliamentary sketches but you also learned something, his astute observations an insight into the powerful (or sometimes weak) and power.

"But it is as a good friend I'll miss him. Simon was kindly, thoughtful, witty, intelligent, well read and a curiously shy man for one who accomplished so much. He was great company and evenings at his house were tremendous fun. Simon moonlighted from The Guardian as The Spectator's wine correspondent. He'd line up eight or 10 bottles on the table without telling you the prices. You'd taste more than was good for you from each before he'd reveal the cost. The best always seemed to be under a tenner, though I couldn't always remember clearly the following morning.

"He fought his cancer with fortitude and took a decision early on not to mention it in his wonderful Saturday column in The Guardian. He never wanted to be defined by that disease and he wasn't."

General secretary of the National Union of Journalists Michelle Stanistreet said:"We were all saddened to hear of Simon's death. He was a long-term member of the union and his contribution to journalism as a reporter, sketch writer and columnist was enormous. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues in the union."

The Guardian's NUJ father of chapel Brian Williams said: "Simon's death has come as a huge blow to all his colleagues who had the privilege of working with him at the Guardian and Observer. Our chapel will be a poorer place without him."

On Twitter:

Polly Curtis, the Guardian’s deputy national editor: “Can just imagine Simon Hoggart's face if he knew he was trending on twitter.. W'minster and Fleet st more bland today.”

David Hencke, freelance lobby and political journalist: “Very sad to see my former witty, clever colleague Simon Hoggart has died.”

Leader of the Opposition Ed Milliband: “Deeply saddened to hear that Simon Hoggart has passed away. He was brilliant and funny writer who will be missed in Westminster and beyond.”

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine: “Simon Hoggart was one of the cleverest and funniest writers in the newspaper world and also a lovely chap. RIP.”

Michael White, associate editor of the Guardian:: “My dear old chum, Simon Hoggart, has died after gallant fight with pancreatic cancer. http://bit.ly/1lu6HoG . Lots of people will miss him.

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