Terry Dicks

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Terry Dicks
Member of Parliament
for Hayes and Harlington
In office
9 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byNeville Sandelson
Succeeded byJohn McDonnell
Personal details
Born (1937-03-17) 17 March 1937 (age 82)
Political partyConservative

Terence Patrick Dicks (born 17 March 1937) is a former British Conservative Party politician. He was MP for Hayes and Harlington from 1983 to his retirement in 1997, having unsuccessfully contested the seat of Bristol South in 1979, when he was defeated by Labour's Michael Cocks. He was educated at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford (DipEcon).[1]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Dicks was known for his hardline right-wing views and caused controversy over a number of public statements he made. His strong opposition to state funding for the arts inspired Labour MP Tony Banks to claim, in a February 1990 debate, that Dicks' presence in the House of Commons was "living proof that a pig's bladder on a stick can get elected to Parliament".[2] In another arts funding debate in July that year, his remarks were controversial enough for fellow Conservative MP Patrick Cormack, in a heated House of Commons, to state “This man is a disgrace to the House of Commons”. Dicks then replied “My hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack) reminds me of Henry VIII not with all the doublet and hose, but at least well fed”.[3] On Derrick Gregory, a mentally subnormal man who had been sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug smuggling, Dicks said he would be writing to the Malaysian government congratulating it on its approach. On Farzad Bazoft, an Observer journalist hanged by Saddam Hussein in 1990, Dicks said he "deserved to be hanged" on the eve of his execution.[4]

In 1990, when Nelson Mandela declined to meet the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on a trip to London, Dicks asked: "How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?"[5] Dicks, unfaltering in this belief, further insisted that the African National Congress "were just terrorists", adding "a terrorist is a terrorist. I don't accept this view of freedom fighters one day – terrorists one day, freedom fighters the next. No. No. And if they had wanted to they could have executed him. Seriously. Then you wouldn't have had all this fuss of 'I can live 27 years in prison'."[6] These remarks in 2013, in the wake of Mandela's death, embarrassed the Conservative leader David Cameron, who had "hoped to bury the Tories’ anti-Mandela past."

As an MP and a member of the Conservative Family Campaign, Dicks left a legacy as a critic of high-profile HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns at the time of the emergence of the disease in the 1980s.[7] Frequent controversial jokes furthering these opinions and others – such as suggesting "tell 'em that if you shove your willy up someone's bum you're going to catch more than a cold" as a central message of the government's HIV/AIDS campaign (instead of encouraging gay men to use condoms);[8] descriptions of immigrants to Britain as "the flotsam and jetsam from all over the world"[9] and ridiculing a Somali refugee family buying water in a west London supermarket, saying "where they come from they're happy to drink out of puddles" – fuelled protests[10] and made him an easy target for Labour jibes when he retired in 1997. His Labour successor, John McDonnell described him as a 'stain', a 'malignant creature', and an espouser of racism, in his maiden speech.[11]

Dicks was born with cerebral palsy and referred to himself in the House of Commons as a "spastic".[12] From 1999 until he retired in June 2009 Dicks was a member of Surrey County Council representing the town of Addlestone. Since 2011, he has been a Runnymede District Councillor for Chertsey South and Row Town.[13][14]


  1. ^ ‘DICKS, Terence Patrick, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014
  2. ^ Iain Dale "The Right Hon wag", The Guardian, 10 January 2006.
  3. ^ https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1990/jul/04/arts-and-heritage#S6CV0175P0_19900704_HOC_447
  4. ^ Leader, The Observer, 18 March 1990.
  5. ^ Anthony Bevins Political Editor and Michael Streeter (9 July 1996). "Nelson Mandela: From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  6. ^ McTague, Tom (7 December 2013). "Conservatives branded hypocrites for heaping praise on Nelson Mandela – the man they branded a terrorist". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 31 March 2016 – via The Mirror.
  7. ^ Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd (October 1991). ThirdWay. Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd. p. 12.
  8. ^ Jerry Hayes (17 March 2014). An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip. Biteback Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-84954-724-6.
  9. ^ "Tories split over immigration". Gadsden Times (103). 13 October 1983. p. 4. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Build campaign to end voucher scheme". Socialist Worker (1711). 26 August 2000. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  11. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (6 June 1997). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 6 June 1997 (pt 12)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2013.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "House of Commons Hansard", Column 544, 11 May 1994.
  13. ^ Staff. "Runnymede Portal: T Dicks". Runnymede Portal. Runnymede Borough Council. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013 – via the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Gibbon, Gary (6 December 2013). "What did Nelson Mandela really think of the UK?". Channel 4 News blogs: Gary Gibbon on Politics. Channel 4. Retrieved 6 December 2013.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Neville Sandelson
Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington
Succeeded by
John McDonnell