Obituaries: David Gilroy Bevan
Saturday 19 October 1996
Gilroy Bevan began his political career at a tender age: he was only 14 when he went canvassing his neighbours in the Conservative interest. Over the years, he acquired a quite exceptional knowledge of how local authorities worked (he served on Birmingham City Council and later the West Midlands County Council from 1959 to 1981); and it was this knowledge that he put to good use in winning Yardley. His achievement can be compared to that of Charles Morrison, who - totally against the then odds - won Devizes for the Tories in 1963 and Teddy (now Sir Teddy) Taylor who served as MP for the same party in the working-class constituency of Glasgow from 1964 to 1979, when the seat was so radically altered by the Boundaries Commission that even a heroically active candidate could not hold it.
One of the great things about Gilroy Bevan was how much he enjoyed the mundane, and often simply boring, business of local government. The combination of flamboyance and assiduity in his character appealed mightily to his constituents: in 1983 he even won applause from them by declaring that the only thing he had against Yardley was the fact that it lacked a yacht basin.
It was, alas for him, the exuberance of his nature which denied him governmental office. Whips - and ministers or shadow ministers - are invariably consulted on appointments. William Whitelaw considered Gilroy Bevan not reliable enough even to enjoy the pleasures and pains of being a Parliamentary Private Secretary - the lowest form of governmental life; he was just too difficult.
Whenever his party - quite understandably - wanted to fudge an issue, Gilroy Bevan opposed them. He supported capital punishment in 1981, opposed sanctions on the old South Africa throughout its existence, and managed to hold Yardley until his defeat in 1992.
But he had a life outside politics. Born 68 years ago, the son of an evangelical minister and his equally religiously uncompromising wife, David Gilroy Bevan (like Antony Crosland in the Labour Party) went on to defy the austere instincts of his parents. He made a fortune as an estate agent in Birmingham, and purchased a yacht and a house in Spain.
But all the while, he was known for his combination of indulgence, eccentricity and decency. The yacht was an indulgence; his support of a charity devoted to giving teddy bears to deprived children (including two bears given from his own substantial collection); and his essential - if somewhat derided - support of the "Keep Sunday Special" campaign all testified to the essential honour of the man's character.
David Gilroy Bevan sat, for a while, on the Select House of Commons Committee on Transport. But I will lay odds that he never took money for asking a question. To adapt a phrase, "By their words shall ye know them".
Andrew David Gilroy Bevan, estate agent and politician: born 10 April 1928; MP (Conservative) for Birmingham, Yardley 1979-92; married 1967 Cynthia Ann Villiers Boulstridge (one son, three daughters); died 12 October 1996.
- 1 American-born Boris Johnson refuses to pay hefty US tax bill
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 John Smid: Former leader of US ‘gay cure’ group has just married a man
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Mike Nichols dead: The Graduate director dies suddenly following cardiac arrest
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
US fire chief caught on camera 'refusing to help crash victims because they're black'
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...
£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...