Family values MP dies

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Right wing Conservative MP, Eric Forth, died at the age of 61 last night after battling with cancer.

The MP for Bromley Chislehurst was known for his strange dress sense and campaigns to limit gay rights and keep fox hunting.

Mr Forth, born in Glasgow in 1944, was first elected as an MP in Mid Worcestershire in 1983, and switched to Bromley and Chislehurst, which he held until 1997.

He leaves a widow Carroll who was his second wife, two daughters and one stepson. His family values were shown in frequent votes against gay rights.

The former Opposition MP of the Year, voted against lowering the gay age of consent in 1998 and in 2000 voted to maintain a prohibition of the promotion of homosexuality based on Section 28 in regards to bullying in schools.

Between 2001 and 2002, he consistently voted against gay adoption and in 2003 voted for keeping Section 28, which was eventually repealed ending the ban on the promotion of homosexuality in local authorities.

In 2004, Mr Forth opposed the Gender Recognition Bill, which gave transsexuals the rights and responsibilities appropriate to their proper gender, he said at the time, “However difficult it might be for the individuals whom we are talking about, to change the law in the way proposed by my hon Friend, so that they will not have to make a very difficult and painful choice, is not a good basis on which to argue for a change in the law, particularly if it would lead-as I fear his new clause would-to what would amount to the sanctification of same-sex marriage, that would be the inevitable result.”

His opposition to same sex marriage was confirmed in 2004 when he voted against the Civil Partnerships Bill.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron said: “Eric’s sudden and untimely death has robbed the House of Commons of one of its stars and Bromley and Chislehurst of a great constituency champion. He will be greatly missed by all of us in Parliament.

“My first job as an Opposition spokesman was serving under Eric when

he was Shadow Leader of the House. Watching him speak in Parliament as an MP and from the front bench was a masterclass in how you can use the House of Commons to hold governments to account.

“He had a great mastery of detail combined with an incisive wit and an unbeatable sense of timing. Whilst he was a House of Commons man he was also a respected and assiduous constituency MP.

“We certainly didn’t agree about everything and the last thing he

would want to be described as was ‘a moderniser’. Like so many others in the House of Commons, I will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carroll and his family at this sad time.”

Andrew Rosindell, the Tory Whip, told The Times, “Eric was a courageous politician who did an enormous amount to campaign and fight for true Conservative values, particularly for the values that Margaret Thatcher stood for, and I think it will be a great loss to the party.

“He was outspoken and often said things that people didn’t like, but he wasn’t afraid to say what he believed in.”