SCREAMING LORD Sutch, the leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, was found dead at his home yesterday. Lord Sutch, Britain's longest-serving party leader, was found at his house in Harrow, north- west London by his girlfriend, Yvonne Elwood. He was 58.
Ms Elwood said last night: "Obviously I am still in a state of shock. He was unique and we will not be able to replace him ... we envisaged spending the rest of our lives together and it is something that is very hard to come to terms with." Ms Elwood, 41, said Lord Sutch, whose real name was David Edward Such, had not been unhappy during the last few days and she could think of no reason why he might have taken his life. She added: "He did suffer from depression but that was a very long-term complaint, of many years."
A Downing Street spokes-man said: "Screaming Lord Sutch will be much missed. For many years he made a unique contribution to British politics. Our elections will never be quite the same without him. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."
Sutch, then a successful pop singer, stood for the first time as the National Teenager's candidate at the by-election in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1963 caused by the resignation of John Profumo. He polled 209 votes; the seat was retained by the Tories
By the 1980's Sutch's Monster Raving Loony Party was a regular feature at all general and by elections and famously helped in the destruction of the SDP by beating them in a by-election in Bootle in 1990.
Ken Livingstone the Labour MP for Brent East, said last night "Humankind owes him a debt of gratitude for destroying the SDP." Liberal Democrat campaigns chief Nick Harvey said: "The Monster Raving Loony Party always added a humorous touch to elections. He will be fondly remembered by politicians and the public alike."
Scotland Yard said last night that a post mortem examination had yet take place and the death was still being treated as suspicious."
Alan Hope, who became the first Loony mayor at Ashburton Town Council in Devon, said Lord Sutch had been in good spirits when he spoke to him o10 days ago. He added: "I'm absolutely devastated. The whole party is going to be. The Monster Raving Loony Party is Screaming Lord Sutch.
"He was saying he had no money troubles any more, and was sorting out his life and was looking forward to coming down here next weekend." But he added: "He was taking lots and lots of pills - Prozac, I don't know what."
Lord Sutch did not field any candidates in last week's European elections because, he said, he could not afford the campaign
Ms Elwood and Lord Sutch had split their time between his home in Harrow and hers in Reading since they were introduced by a mutual friend from the Monster Raving Loony Party.