AddThis SmartLayers

Former MP and regional daily journalist dies at 75

A former MP who previously worked as journalist for a regional daily has died at the age of 75 after a battle with cancer.

Sir Cyril Townsend, left, served as an MP for Bexleyheath from 1974 to 1997 and had also spent time as a journalist at the Western Morning News.

He also worked as a journalist for several newspapers in the Middle East, including Al-Hayat.

Sir Cyril died at his home in Devon last week after a short battle with leukaemia.

His family told the Western Morning News: “He will be sorely missed by all who knew his exuberant character.”

Sir Cyril, who served in the Army around the world, was elected to Parliament for the Conservatives in 1974 and held the seat until retiring at the 1997 election, but he later defected to the Liberal Democrats in summer 2005.

As an MP, he introduced the private member’s bill that became the Protection of Children Act 1978.

Sir Cyril was also a former director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and he was knighted in the New Year Honours List in 1997.

He leaves wife Anita and children Hugh and John and his funeral will be held at Tavistock Church on 7 December.