Former Glasgow MP Sir Teddy Taylor dies aged 80

Teddy Taylor with Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher ahead of the 1979 General Election. Picture: Hamish Campbell/TSPL
Teddy Taylor with Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher ahead of the 1979 General Election. Picture: Hamish Campbell/TSPL
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Sir Teddy Taylor, one of the last Conservative candidates to win a Westminster constituency in Glasgow, has died, his family announced today.

The former MP for Glasgow Cathcart was 80.

Educated at Glasgow High School and Glasgow University, he represented the southside district from 1964 until the 1979 general election, when Labour won the seat.

After a three-month absence from the Commons, he was returned at a by-election as the MP for Southend East, the Essex constituency he served until his retirement in 2005.

His euroscepticism ended his brief ministerial career - he resigned from the Scottish Office in 1971 in protest at Sir Edward Heath’s decision to take the country into the Common Market.

Margaret Thatcher brought him into the shadow cabinet in 1977 as shadow Scottish Secretary with the instructions to “destroy the SNP”. His accurate prediction that the policy would backfire, as there were a lot of SNP voters in his constituency, were brushed aside by the party leader.

He did not return to the public eye until the Maastricht rebellions in the mid-1990s.

He was one of the band of Tory back-benchers - including the former leader, Iain Duncan Smith, and Nicholas Budgen - who defied a succession of three-line whips to vote against John Major’s European policy.

He left the Commons able to boast that he has voted against every Euro-treaty since he came to Parliament.

His fierce euroscepticism was matched by his other right-wing views - he was in favour of the death penalty and he once voiced support for Enoch Powell’s views on immigration - but leavened by his unfailing good-humour.

Taylor told Scotland on Sunday in 2000 that he had supported a campaign for legendary football manager Jock Stein to be knighted following Celtic’s famous 1967 European Cup win, despite Stein’s well-known socialist leanings.

He said: “That our own Jock Stein was not similarly honoured is in some way a slight to Scotland. If it is an oversight, I hope it can be put right as soon as possible.”