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Lord Tarsem King of West Bromwich Tribute in the Houses of Parliament
Written by Lord King of West Bromwich
Virendra Sharma MP, who was hosting the event in the House of Commons on February 4th, was in Primary School when he first knew Lord King who lived in the next village. 'As a party official when I was visiting the Midlands on party business I always stayed at their house. He would say 'stay overnight, have a good breakfast and leave in the morning'. If anyone came to him for advice he was always there to help. (Photo Link)
Rt. Hon. Tom Brake regretted that one often finds out much more about the good that someone has done at a Memorial Service when it is too late. 'The contact I had with Lord King was through the work he did with the Universal Peace Federation. That organisation tries to bring faiths together from all over the world and make them work together. This effort is a strong testament to his strength to bring people with different views together to find common sense solutions that benefit us all. He will be greatly missed in Parliament and in the central role that he performed at the Universal Peace Federation. I am sure that his legacy will continue in that multi-faith work and we will all benefit from it for years to come.'
Lord Ahmed explained that he 'had the pleasure to know Lord King from 1999. I was a little senior because I was the first Muslim to join from 1998. He was the first Sikh to be raised to the House of Lords. He did two duties then both as a Lord and as a Councillor in Sandwell. We would speak to each other in Punjabi in the House of Lords. He was such a gentle man. He was so softly spoken and he would never say no. When Robin Marsh or Margaret Ali asked me to attend meetings I would ask him (Lord King) "Do you want to attend all their meetings?" and he would say, "I cannot say no!"
'He also used to support a number of local meetings. He worked with all communities. He was such a great man. I get into fights with people but he had no enemies. I never saw anyone raise their voice to him because he would never raise his voice to anyone. He was such a great man and he will be greatly missed.'
Lord Rana said about Lord King that, 'whenever I needed some advice or assistance he was always there. He was a great man. A great human being. He went across all parties.'
Lord Hameed said that his passing 'is a huge blow to the family and friends.' He added that, 'His first experience of Lord King was when he came to the upper house. He was a kind modest man. Even a low key person, but a treasure house of intellectual knowledge and experience.'
Pat Macfadden MP said, 'I just wanted to pay my respects. I met him first of all in Wolverhampton about 8 years ago when I was at a selection committee. He gave me very good advice in a very dignified manner. He came over and helped me in my first election in the pouring rain delivering leaflets to support someone he did not know well.'
'I dont need to tell this audience that occasionally there can a little bit of politics in the running of Temples and Gudwaras and he gave me very good advice to steer well clear of that politics. We will miss him as a politician but he will also be missed as a father and husband. All of us will miss him as a very good man.'
Lord Dholakia said he wants to celebrate the life of Lord King. He went beyond politics to bring communities together. He would fight his battles without shouting about it. He would make sure his point of view was heard. Sandwell was known as a difficult area for community cohesion in the 1960's because of Enoch Powell. He was one of the people who worked hard to bring communities together. He was a remarkable man. He was a real statesman around the House of Lords.'
'Anytime there was any cause to do with peace Tarsem King was there. Any event in the West Midlands that I attended he was there. As a family man and a person of international repute he was able to be the honest and modest politician who was able to unite the community. Here was a man who will be remembered for a very, very long time to come. I pay my tribute to him and to his family.'
Lady Farrington said that she got to' know Lord King as one of those dreadful characters in politics called a whip. But you always knew that he would be kind and thoughtful and that his judgement would be good. My husband worked for West Bromwich before Sandwell came to be formed and so we spent many hours talking about the people he loved in that region. He was an antidote to racism, discrimination and hatred in the community. He didn't fight prejudice and nastiness by being nasty but by showing young people how communities could live together well. Baroness Whittaker asked me to say in her place that she respected Lord King, as so many others did, for his work for the human rights committee.'
Keith Vaz MP said 'Today we are paying tribute to my friend Lord Tarsem King who made history in our country. Lord King has had an impact on local government and the Houses of Parliament. He was remarkable because he achieved so many firsts. It is impossible to do it again.'
'He was the first Asian leader in the City Council and that was a really, incredible and pioneering achievement in those days. He was a model of what an elected official should be. He was not just an Asian who had been elected but an example of what every official should be. He had no enemies! How rare is the men who has no enemies!'
Keith Vaz quoted the poem ‘’If’’ by Rudyard Kipling especially the section ‘’Walking with kings - nor lose the common touch .." 'The Lord King was the man who exemplified this poem', he said.
He challenged the audience, 'Look at these paintings. Do you see any Asian face in any of them? Absolutely not. Please join me in a campaign to have Lord King's picture or statue in one of these historic rooms.'