Former head of civil service Lord Kerslake dies aged 68 after ‘short battle with cancer’

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Tributes have been paid to former head of civil service Lord Robert Kerslake who died aged 68 on Saturday.

Former head of the civil service, Lord Kerslake, has died aged 68 following a ‘short battle with cancer’. His death was confirmed by his family who posted the news on social media on Sunday (July 2) in which they paid tribute to a “truly fantastic husband, dad, brother, son, and granddad.”

After retiring from his position as permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, Bob Kerskale was nominated for a peerage by David Cameron; the peerage was granted by the late Queen in 2015.

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He also served as chairman of the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London, however he resigned from that position in 2017 after stating that the health system could no longer "stagger along" with the funds it was receiving.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Ros Kerslake CBE wrote: “My brother Bob (Lord Robert Kerslake) died yesterday (July 1) after a short battle with cancer. We are all devastated.”

In another tweet, daughter Eleanor Kerslake said: “Unfortunately my wonderful dad Bob Kerslake died yesterday. We are all devastated. Dad had a few jobs in his time but the most important to him was being a truly fantastic husband, dad, brother, son and granddad.”

Tributes have since poured in for him with senior Labour Party figures including its leader Sir Keir Starmer expressing condolences. He said: “I’m very sorry to learn that Bob Kerslake has died. Bob was a talented public servant, utmost professional, and a good man.

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“He was rightly respected across Westminster for his experience and wisdom, and I’m grateful for his recent contributions to the Labour Party. Sincere condolences to his family.”

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Former prime minister Cameron said: “Very sorry to hear that Bob Kerslake has passed away. A committed public official, he served the Coalition Government with great professionalism after a long career in local government. My thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with his family.”

Former head of the Home Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake has died. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Former head of the Home Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake has died. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Former head of the Home Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake has died. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary said his death was “terribly sad news”. He added: “Bob was such a committed and decent public servant taken far too soon. Deepest condolences to your family and all those who knew and loved him.”

Describing him as a “true public servant, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “His kindness and commitment to improving our city and country will always be remembered. My thoughts are with his family and friends today.”

Lord Kerslake also chaired the independent review into Greater Manchester’s preparedness and response to the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

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