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Tributes to Professor Anthony King

  • Date

    Fri 13 Jan 17

Professor Anthony King

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of our colleague Professor Anthony King. Tributes have been pouring in for Professor King via our Essex Daily blog message board and on Facebook and Twitter.

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster has paid tribute to his huge contribution to the University of Essex.

He said: “Professor Anthony King was a giant of political science and one of the University of Essex’s longest serving members of staff, joining us in 1966 just two years after the University opened.

“An inspirational teacher, a great political thinker and a brilliant writer, Professor King analysed politics in books and on television with incredible intelligence, insight and wit. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends, including his many, many former students.”

Professor Sir Ivor Crewe worked closely with Professor King on numerous publications including, most recently, The Blunders of Our Governments which received praise from across the political spectrum when it was published in 2013. Sir Ivor, who was a member of the Department of Government from 1971 to 1995 and Vice-Chancellor at Essex from 1995 to 2007, said: "Tony King was the foremost academic interpreter of British government and politics of the last 40 years. He applied a fierce intelligence, immense knowledge, and an elegant, lucid style to every aspect of the British political scene on which he wrote or broadcast. He made us all the wiser about the changing British constitution, how elections are won and lost, why successive governments blunder and much else besides.

"Tony and the Department of Government were synonymous. He was critical to putting it on the map as a world-leading centre of political science. His brilliant lectures inspired generations of Essex students and he was unstinting in his encouragement of young academics, including myself. I mourn a wonderful friend, mentor and colleague."

Close friend and colleague Professor David Sanders, Regius Professor of Political Science at Essex, said: "Tony was the intellectual heart of the Department of Government at Essex. He was the clearest and most compelling lecturer I have ever observed and the very best writer working in contemporary political science. His facility for making complex arguments accessible to audiences of all kinds was unparalleled. His personal kindness was immense. I will miss him more than I can say."

Essex graduate and now Speaker of the House of Commons Rt Hon John Bercow MP also paid tribute to Professor King. He said: "I am extremely sad to learn of the death of Professor Anthony King, one of the most outstanding academic political scientists of our times. It was my great good fortune to be taught by Tony at the University of Essex more than 30 years ago and I still regard his lectures and classes as amongst the most informative and stimulating that I ever heard.

“In more recent years, I have had relatively regular contact with Tony and enjoyed his friendship and encouragement in my own work. There can be no question that, in the study of British politics in particular, he was a colossus. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his wife Jan at this painful time."

Presenter David Dimbleby hosted numerous general election night broadcasts with Professor King on the BBC. He told the BBC News website: "It's very sad news, completely unexpected to me. Tony King was passionate about the way government worked, he was extraordinary. He also played a public role. He was on the committee for standards in public life, on a committee on reform of the House of Lords, so he was sort of embedded, in the way we do our politics. We used to have lunch every so often in between elections to talk about how things were going and he was always absolutely fascinating."

A full tribute to Professor King will be published on our website in due course.

You can leave your own tribute to Professor King on our Essex Daily blog.

BBC Election Nights with Professor Anthony King

The BBC has put together a look back at the highlights from Professor Anthony King's expert contributions to the BBC's election coverage over many dramatic nights:

Professor Anthony King on Research Discoveries

Professor King spoke about his career and what inspired him for our Research Discoveries series. We wanted to share it with our community.

Further links: