FORMER Warwick and Leamington MP Sir Dudley Smith has passed away aged 90.
The Conservative MP held the seat for nearly 30 years before losing out to Labour’s James Plaskitt in the 1997 election.
He began his working life as a journalist before becoming a councillor on Middlesex County Council in 1958. He then went on to stand as Conservative MP for Brentford and Chiswick a year later.
He lost his seat to Labour’s Michael Barnes in the 1966 election but was selected for the Warwick and Leamington seat following the death of Sir John Hobson.
In a by-election in March 1968 he took the seat by 21,922 votes which was then the largest Conservative majority in the country.
He held the seat for nearly 30 years during which time he campaigned for an end to British Summer Time and took an interest in the state of the River Thames, famously saying ‘if you fall in, you risk being poisoned as well as drowned.’
Between 1920 and 1974 he also served as a junior minister for the British Army and Employment under Edward Heath. He was later appointed to the Council of Europe and Western European Union after the 1979 election and served for 18 years.
In 1983 he was knighted, and in 1988 appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Warwickshire.
Chairman of the Warwick and Leamington Conservatives Association, Alan Rhead said: “The Warwick and Leamington Conservative Association was extremely sorry to learn that Sir Dudley Smith has passed away.
“He was a distinguished Member of Parliament for the constituency for almost 30 years, and over a period of significant change nationally, a very different political environment to what we have now.
“Sir Dudley was highly respected in Westminster and well-known locally. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”