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Sir Simon Milton, Boris Johnson's chief of staff, dies aged 49

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Sir Simon Milton, Boris Johnson's chief of staff, dies aged 49

London mayor pays tribute to 'a wonderful colleague' who brought 'calm, logic and warmth' to the role

LGA Chair speaks out
Sir Simon Milton, Boris Johnson's chief of staff, who has died aged 49. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, has paid tribute to his deputy after he died in hospital.

Sir Simon Milton, who was deputy mayor for policy and planning and was also Johnson's chief of staff, was described by him as "a wonderful colleague" who brought "calm, logic and warmth" to the role.

Following his appointment as deputy mayor in September 2008, Milton had supported the mayor on strategic planning applications and focused on Greater London Authority budgets and administration as Johnson's chief of staff.

He was knighted for services to local government in the New Year's Honours list in January 2006 following a career at Westminster City Council, where he became the council leader in 2000.

In 2007 he was elected chairman of the Local Government Association and also worked in the private sector as the managing director of a public relations consultancy.

Once a radical young Thatcherite, Milton had made the journey to becoming a centrist Conservative and in 2007 had characterised his agenda at Westminster council as "a sort of one-nation approach" which recognised that "London is, and should be, an open and tolerant place where people come from all over the world".

Paying tribute, Johnson said: "He was a wonderful colleague and friend and will be much missed by everyone who was involved in public life in this city.

"He was kind, he was decent, and he was universally acknowledged to be brilliant at his job.

"He was a widely admired leader of Westminster Council, who played a key role in launching the first academy schools. He brought the same calm, logic and warmth to his role at City Hall.

"It is a great shock that Simon has been taken from us when he had so much still to offer."

The mayor's spokeswoman said: "Sir Simon Milton, deputy mayor and chief of staff, has passed away at a London hospital this evening."

"Our thoughts are with his partner, Robert Davis, and his family. He was a great colleague and friend and will be hugely missed at City Hall and by everyone in pubic life in our capital. London has benefited from his intellect, wisdom and decency."

Read more at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/apr/12/sir-simon-milton-dies-boris-johnson

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