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Former political editor Chris Buckland dies aged 73: A journalist who ‘delighted in exposing the pompous political class’

By Dominic Ponsford

Former Fleet Street political editor, columnist and foreign correspondent Chris Buckland has died of cancer aged 73.

He began his career as a reporter with the Daily Mail in Manchester in 1964 before becoming the paper’s Belfast correspondent.

He went on to work in senior roles for The Sun, Express, News of the World, People, Today and Daily Mirror.

According to the Daily Mail: “He told friends how his passion for journalism began as a young boy one day in 1953 when, as a paperboy, he stopped to read every front page’s coverage of the conquest of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing.

“Throughout his 48-year career, Buckland showed an unerring eye for a story and delighted in exposing the often pompous nature of the political class.

“But this did not prevent him making lifelong friends in all political parties, as he did among his many colleagues…”

Former colleague, TLS managing director James MacManus, told Press Gazette how Buckland told him he once ran away from his aunt’s house in north London, aged eight, to view a debate at the House of Commons.

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It was 1952 and he said that he got on a bus on his own and got into the gallery.

MacManus said: “The debates he witnessed that day shaped the rest of his life.”

He added: “Everyone knew he was a great political journalist with a real eye for the pomposities, absurdities and conceits of the political class, but what people didn’t always pick up on was that he had a real gift for friendship. These friends included David Blunkett, Christopher Meyer, Les Hinton and Paul Dacre.

“He was one of those people who had a magical quality about him and he was very, very funny.”

Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman said on Twitter that Buckland wrote  “the best intro ever from Baghdad in 1991: ‘The first casualty of war is not truth, it is room service…'”

Matt Nixson of the Mail on Sunday said: “Chris Buckland was a journalistic great. A lovely man full of stories,a loyal friend and possessor of the most wonderful joie de vivre.”

Former Sun editor David yelland said: “He was an extraordinary character, and a nice man.”

Former political editor of The Sun George Pascoe-Watson described him as “a classy operator”. And former Sun royal editor Charles Rae said he was a “lovely guy”.

Former News International chairman Les Hinton also paid tribute to Buckland on Twitter.

Picture credit: The Sun/News UK

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