Michael Spicer: Former Tory MP and ERG founder dies aged 76
Lord Michael Spicer, the former Conservative MP and founder of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, has died in hospital at the age of 76.
Lord Spicer was a Worcestershire MP between 1974 and 2010 and chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee between 2001 and 2010.
A family spokesman said he had Parkinson's disease and leukaemia.
His widow, Lady Patricia Ann Hunter, paid tribute to the "amazing husband and wonderful father".
She added he had remained involved in politics until his death.
A statement released on behalf of the family said: "Ann, the wife of Lord Michael Spicer and her family wish to announce that Michael died peacefully this morning in hospital after a long illness.
"They are sure that many will be sad to hear this news. They would be grateful for a few moments privacy whilst they take into account what has happened."
Lord Spicer was the MP for South Worcestershire between 1974 and 1997 and after a boundary change represented the constituency of West Worcestershire.
He served in various ministerial positions from 1984 to 1990, including at the Department of Trade and Department for Transport, and was given a life peerage in 2010.
In 1993 he founded the ERG, a Eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs, which has in recent years played a prominent role in promoting Brexit.
Speaking in the House of Lords in June last year, he described himself as "a pain in the neck to those who want to stay in Europe."
He added: "The essence of why I oppose staying in the European Union is that it seems to me that the nation state is the best unit for democracy."
Former Prime Minister David Cameron said Lord Spicer had a "great sense of fun and humour as well as being devoted to his family, constituency and Parliament".
Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis described Lord Spicer as "a kind, courteous and faithful member" of the party, while MP Priti Patel lauded his "achievements during the Thatcher government".
Ms Patel said: "Sad to learn of the death of Michael Spicer.
"He led the Eurosceptic movement in Parliament during the 1990s and was well known for his achievements during the Thatcher government. My thoughts are with his wife and family."
Fellow Tory MP Steve Baker and ERG member added: "I'm very sorry to learn Michael Spicer... has passed away. My condolences to his friends and family."