Essex

Sir Teddy Taylor, former MP and Eurosceptic, dies aged 80

Sir Teddy Taylor Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Teddy Taylor had been ill for some months, his family said

The former Conservative MP and ardent Eurosceptic Sir Teddy Taylor has died aged 80, his family said.

Sir Teddy had been ill for some months and passed away at Southend Hospital on Wednesday, his wife Sheila Taylor said.

He first entered Parliament as MP for Glasgow Cathcart in 1964 and became MP for Southend East in 1979.

Mrs Taylor said: "The great love of his life was helping his constituents. He really cared about Southend and was very well-liked by everybody here."

'Colossus of politics'

Sir Teddy was born on 18 April 1937. He was educated at Glasgow High School and Glasgow University, and started his career as a journalist in Glasgow.

In his political career he was known for his fierce loathing of the Common Market, which later became the European Union.

Sir Teddy also supported the death penalty and Enoch Powell's campaign to stop immigration.

However, it was his hatred of the Common Market that led to his resignation as a junior Scottish minister in 1971 over Edward Heath's decision to take Britain into Europe.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Teddy, pictured in 1980 with his wife Sheila and sons George, left, and John

Having lost his marginal Glasgow Cathcart seat in 1979, he fought and won a by-election in Southend East, a seat he held until retiring from Parliament in 2005.

Sir Teddy was a "colossus of UK politics", James Duddridge, who succeeded him as Conservative MP for Southend East, said.

Paying tribute to Sir Teddy, he said: "He gave everything to his political life.

"Teddy spent much of his life opposed to British membership of the European Union.

"We campaigned together for Brexit and it is some comfort that before he passed he had seen the country come around to his way of thinking."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Teddy was known for his loathing of Britain being part of the European Union

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described Sir Teddy as "one of the great servants of our party in Scotland".

"Even now, 40 years on, many local people will remember his fierce commitment and dedication to Glasgow," she said.

"He was a true parliamentarian and a great local champion who will be remembered with fondness across the political spectrum."

Sir Teddy is survived by his widow, two sons and a daughter.