Very sad news this morning that Philip Gould,one of the architects of New Labour's three election victories has died at the age of 61.
Philip,who was a key adviser to former prime minister Tony Blair had been suffering from cancer of the Oesophagus.
Only a few weeks ago,he had given an interview to the Guardian in which,after being told he only had months to live told the paper that,"it's a privilege to be in this position to have a deadline, to be given a chance to sort everything out."
Gould was undoubtedly one of the masterminds behind the creation of New Labour.
After leaving school with one O'level he ended up with a good university degree,got into advertising,then formed a consultancy with the pollster Deborah Mattinson which ended up introducing the Labour party to focus groups after meeting Peter Mandelson,then the party's communications director, and the rest is history.
Would New Labour have happened without him? It probably would have done is the answer but as his former boss has said this morning,he was a "huge part of the renaissance of the Labour Party".
Lord Gould,added Blair "was always a constant advocate for the British people, their hopes and anxieties", and a man whose "political contribution was immense".
Current Labour leader Ed Miliband described him as an exceptional man and his death as an exceptional loss
"His contribution to Labour politics was enormous. His work and commitment helped change the lives of millions of his fellow citizens for the better. By helping Labour to win three elections, he helped rebuild our schools, save our NHS and repair the fabric of Britain. Many who benefit will never know his name but will have better lives in part because of his work."
A fitting tribute comes from Alastair Campbell this morning
He was a team player, and his team was Labour. ‘Pollster’ doesn’t really say the half of it. He was an integral member of the inner team that worked to get Labour back into power, and stay there for more than the usual single Parliament breathing space for the Tories. His focus groups, far from being an exercise in PR, were a way of making sure that the kind of people he felt Labour forgot in the wilderness years had a direct voice to the top of politics. He was not a speechwriter but he was the most brilliant analyst of speech drafts. His notes on them always improved the final product. He was also great in a crisis, and always able to lift people and campaigns when they were low. He was that rare thing in politics – someone who was strategic, tactical and empathetic all in one. He was a rock.