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Former Beckenham MP who beat Thatcher dies aged 89

PUBLISHED: 16:15 13 July 2015 | UPDATED: 16:15 13 July 2015

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Beckenham MP Bob Stewart feels "huge sorrow" at friend's death

An MP who beat Margaret Thatcher to become the MP for Beckenham for more than three decades has died.

Sir Philip Goodhart beat the future Prime Minister when he was selected as the constituency’s Conservative candidate in the 1957 by-election.

He won the election and represented the constituency until 1992. He was also the Minister for Northern Ireland from 1979 until 1981.

Sir Philip had previously served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and the Parachute Regiment in Palestine before completing a history degree at Trinity College, Cambridge. He subsequently became a journalist with the Telegraph and the Times and the author of several books.

He and his wife Valerie, who died last year, had seven children.

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart said he felt “huge sorrow” at the death of his friend.

“Philip’s brain was always in full function. Recently he told me he just cursed his wretched body, which didn’t seem to do what it was told!” Mr Stewart said.

“I met Philip for lunch frequently and I will miss those occasions a lot as we discussed many things and laughed a lot.

“To the end he retained many good friends in Beckenham. I have lost a seriously good friend and I mourn his passing greatly.”

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