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The BBC's Peter Hill
"He was treated warily by Tory MPs"
 real 28k

Sunday, 10 September, 2000, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Former MP Critchley dies
Sir Julian Critchley
Sir Julian vowed to be a"a thorn" in Tory leader Hagues's side
Former Tory MP Sir Julian Critchley, who was thrown out of the party last year after criticising William Hague, has died aged 69 after a long battle against cancer.

He died peacefully surrounded by his family on Saturday morning, his son Joshua said.

The former Aldershot MP, who quit the Commons at the 1997 general election, never achieved ministerial rank.

Sir Julian, considered to be one of Westminster's most colourful characters, was a keen supporter of the European Union and was often dismayed at the attitude of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister - describing her on one occasion as a "great she-elephant".

Pro-Europe

Last August, Sir Julian promised to be a "large thorn" in William Hague's side, and predicted the leader would not last five years in his job.

His remarks came after the Conservatives cancelled Sir Julian's membership of the party after he urged people to vote for the Pro-Euro Conservative Party in the 1999 European Parliament elections.

Sir Julian was MP for Rochester and Chatham from 1959-64, and then became MP for Aldershot, Hampshire for the remainder of his time in the Commons.

He was a boyhood pal of Michael Heseltine, whom he supported in the 1990 Tory leadership contest.

Acerbic writing

For some years Sir Julian had been making more of an impact with his acerbic brand of political journalism, than with his contributions at Westminster.

He was knighted by John Major in 1995, three years after he had contracted prostate cancer.

Earlier this year Sir Julian was diagnosed with bone cancer and doctors also discovered he was suffering from a brain tumour.

His son Joshua said: "The last few months he had gradually lost lucidity, but he died very peacefully yesterday (Saturday) morning and the family were with him."

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23 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Tories 'terminate' Euro rebels
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