The Westminster Scandal: Ardent defender of Tory 'ideals': The MP

FEW government tears are likely to be shed if Tory activists in Milton Keynes South West decide to dump Barry Legg as their MP, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

An undisputed 'bastard' - as John Major labelled his Maastricht opponents - he defied the Government on 57 of a possible 60 occasions on the Bill. A No Turning Back Tory who co-founded the right-wing Conservative Way Forward, he continued the rebellion to the almost disastrous end.

As Lady Porter's chief whip on Westminster council he ardently defended, among other things, the sale of three cemeteries for 15p.

High-profile performances in the Commons have not been his style, but he has earned respect for his contributions as a member of the Commons Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee.

Right-wing friends view him as tough with a rigorous accountant's turn of mind. He lives with his wife and daughter in exclusive Belgravia and was formerly a director and the company secretary of the highly successful Hillsdown Holdings, the food empire that contributed pounds 2,000 towards the restoration of a pond at the home of John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Hillsdown's 1992-93 accounts revealed that Mr Legg was the beneficiary of pounds 200,000 compensation for loss of office when he left the company by mutual consent in September 1992. Sir John Nott, the former Tory Cabinet minister, headed the remuneration committee. Supporters of the beleaguered MP view it as recognition of good service.

(Photograph omitted)

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