Lord Steinberg dies at Ritz Hotel, London

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009
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Lord Leonard Steinberg, who has died aged 73

Lord Leonard Steinberg, who has died aged 73

The tycoon Lord Steinberg has died at the Ritz Hotel, London, where he was staying before attending the House of Lords.

The former Leonard Steinberg, 73, a Conservative life peer and president of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, died suddenly in his room in London's Picadilly.

His body was escorted back to his home in Hale by the Manchester Chevra Kadisha and the funeral was at Dunham Lawn cemetery in Altrincham today.

Lord Steinberg, who was born in Belfast, made his fortune in the gambling industry, as the founder and non-executive chairman of Stanley Leisure.

He moved the business to Liverpool in 1977 after he was shot by the IRA for refusing to pay protection money.

Lord Steinberg sold the bookmaking arm of the company to William Hill in 2005 and the casinos to Singapore-based company the Genting Group.

He was estimated to be worth £90m in 2009 by the Sunday Times Rich List.

He was an active member of the Manchester Jewish community and president of the Jewish Federation and the Manchester branch of the UJIA. He also chaired the local synagogue in Hale and was president of Lancashire Cricket club.

Conservative leader David Cameron paid tribute to Lord Steinberg. He said: “Leonard was a popular and active member of the House of Lords, and a good friend to the Conservative Party.

“He regularly offered me his sage advice and words of wisdom, which were always gratefully received.

“My thoughts and prayers – and the condolences of the whole Party – go out to Beryl and Leonard’s family at this very difficult and sad time.”

Steven Jaffe, co-chair of the NIFI, said: "Lord Steinberg was amongst the first to offer us his support when we put together our initial plans for NIFI and he came to Belfast to preside at our launch at Stormont in March.

"Everyone present that night could see his obvious pride in outlining the many historical connections between Northern Ireland and Israel. We were honoured that he agreed to become our president.

"Although he left Belfast to live in England many years ago Lord Steinberg remained a Northern Irish Jew. He said that NIFI brought together two of the most important strands of his life – love of his native Northern Ireland and love of Israel."

Last updated: 10:12am, November 5 2009