Former South Holland MP Sir Richard Body dies at 90
The much-respected former Holland with Boston MP Sir Richard Body has died at the age of 90.
Sir Richard served South Holland constituents from March 1966 to May 1997, when constituency boundaries changed, and he switched to the then newly created Boston and Skegness constituency, standing down in 2001.
Famously Eurosceptic, Sir Richard was also a leading environmentalist long before the movement became popular and was a prominent campaigner against use of chemicals in farming, writing books on the issue.
He was at the forefront of the successful charge to bring rogue gangmasters to heel – and stop exploitation of workers – by introducing a licensing system.
Sir Richard was a farmer himself and specialised in agricultural issues in Parliament.
Before his first election victory in Lincolnshire, Sir Richard had been MP for Billericay from 1955 to 1959.
Sir Richard had been a barrister in his early working life and that role saw his first ever meeting with Margaret Thatcher, who later became Prime Minister.
He was widely regarded as an excellent constituency MP – and a fierce defender of the people who took their problems to him.
Sir Richard didn’t pursue ministerial office, often saying he refused to “climb the greasy pole”, and remained a highly respected conviction politician.
He stayed as an MP until he was aged 74 because the Conservatives wanted to be sure of winning the new Boston and Skegness seat.
Speaking afterwards, Sir Richard said: “Awful Parliament ... the whole place was full of damned ambitious people.”
Sir Richard always had a base in his constituencies but home was with his family in a village near Reading.