Lord Weatherill, 86, who ushered Britain's House of Commons into the television age and was the last speaker to wear the traditional shoulder-length wig, died Sunday after a brief illness, his son Bruce said yesterday.
Bernard Weatherill presided in the house from 1983 to 1992. The cameras were switched on in 1989 and, to his amusement, made him a celebrity. "I often say I'm not in the entertainment business," he said in a 1991 interview. "This is a workshop."
He was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1964 and was elevated to the House of Lords in 1992.
The son of a Savile Row tailor, he carried a thimble in his pocket because his mother said it would keep him humble. The tradition of the shoulder-length wig was dropped by his successor, Betty Boothroyd.
Lord Weatherill was in the speaker's chair when Geoffrey Howe delivered the speech that precipitated Margaret Thatcher's downfall. Howe's November 1990 resignation from the cabinet over Thatcher's Euroskeptic policies - which he said had forced him into a "tragic conflict of loyalties" - sparked a challenge to Thatcher's leadership that led her to resign.