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Monday, October 26, 1998 Published at 22:29 GMT

UK Politics

Former MP Budgen dies

Nicholas Budgen, who has died of liver cancer

The former Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West, Nicholas Budgen, has died after suffering from liver cancer for some time. He was 60.

Mr Budgen died early on Monday in Stafford General Hospital.

Chairman of the Tory party Michael Ancram said: "I am very sorry to hear the sad news of the death of Nick Budgen.

"The whole party sends its condolences to his family.

"Nick was a principled and hard working member of Parliament for 23 years and a good friend. His service to Parliament, the country, Wolverhampton and his party won him many friends across the political spectrum."

Mr Budgen had the Conservative whip withdrawn in 1995 after defying John Major's government over Europe and in 1997 he lost his seat to Labour during the general election.

'Ideal politician'

Mr Budgen is understood to have discovered only last August that he was suffering from liver cancer.

Shadow Home Secretary Sir Norman Fowler, whose Sutton Coldfield constituency was near to Mr Budgen's seat, said the country had lost a great politician.

He told BBC News Online: "I have known Nick most of my life, we were at Cambridge together and we were in the House of Commons together.

"I remember him from the very early days. He will be terribly missed. He was a very definite person, no respecter of persons.

"Harold Macmillan came down as prime minister to the Cambridge University Conservative Party, I was chairman at the time. We went to a party afterwards and Nick took the prime minister to one side and lectured him on his African policies.

"He never feared for his position, he just said things as he felt them. Sometimes he was right, sometime he was wrong.

"You could never criticise Nick, he was utterly sincere. He was an ideal politician, an ideal backbencher. He loved the institution of parliament, it was such a shame he lost his seat at the last election.

'A man of conscience'

Fellow Euro-sceptic MP and friend Sir Teddy Taylor told BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "Nick Budgen was a very conscientious MP but the main thing was that he was a man of truth who stood by his word.

"He threw away his political career in 1982 when he resigned his position in the government. In all the European treaties, he felt so strongly he voted against them even on the last one, when there was a vote of confidence.

"I think it's fair to say he was a man who could have gone very far indeed, because he was a barrister and a Cambridge graduate.

"But because he wanted to stand for what he believed in, he threw away a political career. But at least he emerged as a man of conscience, a man of principle and someone we will miss a great deal."

Mr Budgen is survived by his wife Madelaine, a son Rupert and a daughter Phillippa.

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