Baroness Trumpington, a Bletchley Park code-breaker famed for flicking two fingers up at a fellow Tory peer, has died at the age of 96, her son has said.
Tributes came from across the political spectrum after Adam Barker announced that the former Conservative minister died on Monday afternoon.
Lady Trumpington only bowed out from the House of Lords, where she was celebrated as one of Parliament’s most colourful characters, last year.
Lady Trumpington shot to fame in 2011 when she was caught on camera in the Lords chamber flicking a V-sign at a fellow Tory peer over what she perceived as a rude remark about her age.
During the Second World War, she was a “Land Girl” for David Lloyd George before working in naval intelligence at the Bletchley Park code-breaking headquarters.
Before entering Parliament, Lady Trumpington was a Cambridge councillor, rising to become mayor in 1971.
She took her seat in the Lords in 1980 and was a government whip and minister during several periods in the 1980s and 90s.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt celebrated her as a “trailblazer, heroine and an utter joy”.
Barker said she had “a bloody good innings”, as he tweeted: “My mother passed away this afternoon in her sleep.”
Lady Trumpington spent 37 years as a Conservative peer and had spells as a minister and a government whip.
James Cleverly, an MP and deputy chairman of the Conservative party, tweeted: “So sad to hear that code breaking, two finger wagging, Baroness Trumpington has passed away. Ma’am, we salute you.”
Mordaunt wrote: “Deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved this incredible woman. Socialite, mother, Bletchley Park code breaker, Baroness, Minister, trailblazer, heroine and an utter joy.”
Tim Farron, MP and former Liberal Democrat leader, said she was “admirable, decent and unique”.