'Awkward squad' MP Eric Forth dies aged 61
Friday 19 May 2006
Eric Forth, the Conservative MP and one of the leading members of the Commons "awkward squad", has died from cancer, aged 61. An announcement from Conservative Campaign Headquarters yesterday said he had "died peacefully in his sleep" with his wife, Carol, at his side.
Mr Forth, who came from Glasgow, was famous for his wildly colourful ties, the long hours he put into parliamentary debate and his adroit use of parliamentary procedure, which frustrated and exasperated political opponents.
His death will trigger a by-election in the solidly Tory south London seat of Bromley and Chislehurst.
He held a number of senior posts, including that of Higher Education minister under John Major and the shadow Leader of the House under Iain Duncan Smith, with David Cameron, the present Tory leader, as his deputy. However, he was privately scathing about aspects of Mr Cameron's drive to modernise the party.
He was an obstinate defender of the rights of backbench MPs and voted frequently against his own party's political line. Two months ago, he was the leader of a group of just four Tory MPs who used Commons procedure to obstruct a private members' bill, put forward by the Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz, to tighten up planning laws to ensure that new developments did not add to climate change. He was too ill to prevent it going through the Commons last Friday.
Sir Malcom Rifkind, the former foreign secretary, told MPs that "he was an awkward customer".
But Mr Cameron said: "Watching him speak in Parliament as an MP and from the front bench was a masterclass in how you can use the House of Commons to hold governments to account.We certainly didn't agree about everything and the last thing he would want to be described as was 'a moderniser'."
Mr Forth was born on 9 September 1944 in Glasgow. He was educated at Jordanhill College School and the University of Glasgow. He was MP for mid-Worcestershire in 1983-97, and for Bromley and Chislehurst from 1997.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...
£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Year 3/4 Teacher - Daily Suppl...