I first met Peter Fraser when I joined the Front Bench in 1995. At that July reshuffle Michael Forsyth was given the Scottish Office and his predecessor, Ian Lang moved from Dover House to become President of the Board of Trade taking Peter with him as one of his Ministers of State.
He travelled much promoting UK Plc overseas, but one particular event that I remember well was his handling of the debate in the Lords on the Scott Report. A simultaneous debate was also happening in the Commons and in fact was made a matter of Confidence by the Prime Minister, John Major. But Peter handled our debate with all his great skill that he had learnt in the Commons as well as from his time as a Barrister and QC in the Scottish Courts. In his earlier career he had been the Solicitor General and started off in the Lords as The Lord Advocate.
Peter is second from the left between Lord Strathclyde and another absent friend Lord Mackay of Ardbreknish. Missing from this picture are Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Earl Ferrers, Baroness Chalker and Baroness Cumberledge. Sadly with Peter's loss we have now lost five of the Front Bench of 1996.
I will always remember though the time our then leader Viscount Cranborne had his moment with William Hague. Everything got a little hectic on the Opposition Front Bench, with meetings amongst ourselves, with shadow cabinet members and anybody else who had anything to add. Peter as Deputy Leader in the Lords was brilliant. Steady and calm but in his customary way said something along the lines of "I don't know what the rest of you are doing but I'm resigning". So in fact the entire Front Bench resigned. But the two Peters, Fraser and Pilkington, great men of principle would not return to the Front Bench as the rest of us did.
Politically astute and part of that great generation of Scotsmen, who have provided so many politicians to all parties, yesterday was a day of remembering Peter, the fun, the wise words and not to be forgotten his sometimes very mischievous sense of humour. He would have probably commented "For goodness sake get over it and I don't know about you but I'm off for a drink!"