Terry Dicks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Terry Dicks
Member of Parliament
for Hayes and Harlington
In office
9 June 1983 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byNeville Sandelson
Succeeded byJohn McDonnell
Personal details
Born(1937-03-17)17 March 1937
Bristol, England
Died17 June 2020(2020-06-17) (aged 83)
Bournemouth, England
Political partyConservative
SpouseJanet Cross
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (DipEcon)
London School of Economics (BSc (Econ))

Terence Patrick "Phil" Dicks (17 March 1937 – 17 June 2020) was a British Conservative Party politician. He was MP for the constituency of Hayes and Harlington from 1983 to his retirement in 1997, having unsuccessfully contested Bristol South in 1979. He obtained the nickname Phil for, according to The Telegraph, "elevating Philistinism to an art form".[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Dicks was born in Bristol[2] on 17 March 1937 with cerebral palsy. His early jobs included work at Imperial Tobacco as a clerk until 1959.[1] He was educated at the University of Oxford (DipEcon) and the London School of Economics (BSc (Econ)).[3]

Political career[edit]

Outside Parliament[edit]

Dicks was elected to Hillingdon Borough Council in 1974. In 1978 he attracted controversy after treating a white Rhodesian family differently to an Asian family, despite the fact that both had arrived in the UK as immigrants. He was suspended in 1982 when the Greater London Council took issue with comments he made regarding arrears from the Strongbridge Housing Association.[1]

Dicks was selected as the Conservative Party's candidate for the seat of Bristol South in the 1979 general election, but he lost out to Labour's Michael Cocks.

From 1999 until he retired in June 2009, Dicks was a member of Surrey County Council, representing the town of Addlestone. Beginning in 2011, he was a Runnymede district councillor for Chertsey South and Row Town.[4][5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Dicks was elected as the Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington in 1983 in succession to Neville Sandelson. He was known for his hardline right-wing views and caused controversy over several 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."[6]

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 say, "This man is a disgrace to the House of Commons." Dicks replied, "My hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South (Cormack) reminds me of Henry VIII not with all the doublet and hose, but at least well fed."[7][non-primary source needed]

Regarding 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.[8] 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.[9]

In 1990, when Nelson Mandela declined to meet the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on a trip to London, a greatly offended Dicks asked, rhetorically, "How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?"[10]

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.[11] Frequent controversial jokes furthering these opinions and others – such as suggesting "tell 'em that if you shove your willy [British slang term for a penis] 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),[12] descriptions of immigrants to Britain as "the flotsam and jetsam from all over the world,"[13] and ridiculing a Somali refugee family buying water in a London supermarket, saying "where they come from they're happy to drink out of puddles" – fuelled protests, according to the Socialist Worker.[14] His Labour successor, left-winger John McDonnell, described him as a "stain," a "malignant creature," and an espouser of racism in his maiden speech in 1997.[15][16]

Dicks called for the BBC soap opera EastEnders to be cancelled or screened after 11pm, following a storyline involving a gay kiss between two men.[17] He was supportive of measures to decrease periods for abortion.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Due to his cerebral palsy, Dicks referred to himself in the House of Commons as a "spastic".[18][1]

He had four children – three daughters and a son – across two marriages.[1] He died on 17 June 2020, aged 83.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Terry Dicks, Right-wing Tory MP notorious for speaking his mind on contentious issues – obituary". The Telegraph. 19 June 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Terry Dicks obituary". Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  3. ^ ‘DICKS, Terence Patrick, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Iain Dale "The Right Hon wag", The Guardian, 10 January 2006.
  7. ^ "Arts and Heritage (Hansard)". api.parliament.uk. 4 July 1990. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  8. ^ Julia Langdon (22 June 2020). "Terry Dicks obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  9. ^ Leader, The Observer, 18 March 1990.
  10. ^ Anthony Bevins and Michael Streeter (9 July 1996). "Nelson Mandela: From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  11. ^ Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd (October 1991). ThirdWay. Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd. p. 12.
  12. ^ Jerry Hayes (17 March 2014). An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip. Biteback Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-84954-724-6.
  13. ^ "Tories split over immigration". Gadsden Times. No. 103. 13 October 1983. p. 4. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Build campaign to end voucher scheme". Socialist Worker. No. 1711. 26 August 2000. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  15. ^ 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Emily Ashton (25 October 2015). "John McDonnell Battles To Convince His Critics He's Up To The Job". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  17. ^ "How Michael Cashman changed the world: from EastEnders' first gay kiss to Stonewall". The Guardian. 29 January 2020.
  18. ^ "House of Commons Hansard", Column 544, 11 May 1994.
  19. ^ Remembrance of departed colleagues, politicshome.com; accessed 17 June 2020.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington
Succeeded by