Chris Moncrieff, a political reporter who covered Westminster for more 50 years for the Press Association (PA) agency, has died aged 88.
The journalist, who continued to file stories after officially retiring in 1994, was described by PA’s editor-in-chief Pete Clifton as a “legend”.
In 2007, the House of Commons press bar was renamed in Mr Moncrieff’s honour.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair once described him as “the only journalist who mattered”.
Mr Moncrieff, who had four children with his late wife, Margaret, joined PA’s parliamentary staff in 1962, before becoming a lobby reporter in 1973.
He was made chief political correspondent in 1980, and was later promoted to political editor.
Mr Clifton said: “Moncrieff was the ultimate news agency journalist – great contacts, always close to the action, working some epic hours and obsessed by getting stories out before everyone else. On the rare occasion he took a holiday, we could expect him to file news stories he’d picked up on the promenade.
“Legend gets overused, but there’s no doubt Moncrieff was a PA legend and a remarkable political reporter. We are profoundly sad today, but cheered by the many stories of Moncrieff we can share.”
Former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine described him as being “like a jack-in-the-box”.
He added: “He was the most assiduous professional, the phrase ‘never off the job’ was invented for Chris. He was hugely diligent and enormously ever-present.
“He always gave the impression of being sympathetic to what you were saying – and he must have listened to both great statesmen and absolute scoundrels.”
Members of the press lobby have paid tribute to Mr Moncrieff: