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Tributes paid as former Bexleyheath MP Sir Cyril Townsend dies

PUBLISHED: 15:01 26 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 26 November 2013

Sir Cyril Townsend speaking with Prof Ali Zaghal in Parliament, during 1993. PHOTO: British-Arab Exchanges

Sir Cyril Townsend speaking with Prof Ali Zaghal in Parliament, during 1993. PHOTO: British-Arab Exchanges

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Former Bexleyheath MP Sir Cyril Townsend died last week after a short battle with leukaemia.

The 75-year-old was elected to Parliament for the Conservatives in 1974, and held his seat for more than 20 years until retiring in 1997 - as New Labour came to power.

Sir Cyril, who served in the Army across the globe, introduced the private member’s bill that became the Protection of Children Act 1978.

Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evenett said: “Sir Cyril was a Parliamentary colleague and constituency neighbour from 1983 to 1997.

“He was a conscientious constituency Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and we worked together in the interests of our borough. I am very sorry to learn of his death and I have written to his widow, Anita, to express my condolences.”

In the summer of 2005, he defected to the Liberal Democrats - but didn’t announce his switch until publicly supporting Sir Ming Campbell’s leadership campaign.

The committee chair of the Bexleyheath Conservative Club, Leslie Ayres, described Sir Cyril as “well-known and well-liked”.

He added: “As well as doing a lot for this area, he was responsible for the introduction of the Protection of Children Act in 1978. We remember him with affection.”

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