Europe-baiter Sir Teddy to quit

By Chris MoncrieffPA NewsSIR Teddy Taylor, the Essex MP who yesterday announced he will not be standing at the next General Election, has been the most voluble, relentless, well-informed and media-conscious of all the Tory Euro-rebels who were the despair of the John Major administration in the 1990s.

By Chris Moncrieff

PA News

SIR Teddy Taylor, the Essex MP who yesterday announced he will not be standing at the next General Election, has been the most voluble, relentless, well-informed and media-conscious of all the Tory Euro-rebels who were the despair of the John Major administration in the 1990s.

His detestation of what started as the Common Market and became the European Union has been on a scale not far short of an obsession.


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Sir Teddy, 66, has not missed a single opportunity to proclaim publicly against what he regarded as an insidious organisation bent on eating away at Britain's sovereignty and forcing the will of mainland alien Europeans on the governing of the United Kingdom.

He was one of the band of defiant Tory backbenchers who were stripped of the Conservative whip late in 1994 - effectively suspending them from the parliamentary party - and made clear that he was prepared to fight elections as an independent Conservative rather than kow-tow to the yoke of Brussels.

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Sir Teddy is one of the few at Westminster who has openly called for Britain to withdraw. Nothing diminished his fervour over Europe. He regularly claims to have exposed skulduggery and flagrant misuse of taxpayers' money by Brussels bureaucrats and other unaccountable EU mandarins.

He entered Parliament as Tory MP for Glasgow Cathcart in 1964, and it was to his immense personal credit that he held on to this marginal until 1979. The following year he fought and won a by-election at Southend East, which he still represents.

He was a junior Scottish Office Minister for part of Edward Heath's 1970-74 administration, but resigned over Heath's decision to take Britain into Europe.

Before that, there was a shock in 1969 when, after two all-night sittings, he collapsed in the House of Commons. He blamed that on "precious little food, too much coffee, too little proper sleep and too many blackcurrant eclairs".

But there was a happy chance sequel to this. At Westminster Hospital, where he was taken, the so-called Glasgow street-fighter renewed his acquaintance with Sheila Duncan, a medical social worker, whom he had first met when he was eight. They married the following year.

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