SIR Teddy Taylor became affectionately known as “Mr Southend” after a lifetime of dedication to his Southend constituents.

Born in Glasgow on April 18, 1937, Sir Teddy was educated at Glasgow High School and Glasgow University, and started his career as a journalist in the city.

He entered Parliament as Tory MP for Glasgow Cathcart in 1964, a position he held until 1979.

The following year he was elected MP for Southend East in a by-election and held the seat until he retired from Parliament in 2005.

In 1971, he resigned as Scottish Office minister over Edward Heath’s decision to bring Britain into Europe and join what was then the European Economic Community.

The affable, chain-smoking teetotaller MP soon made his mark in the borough but it wasn’t plain sailing at the start.

Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, recalled how he first got to know Sir Teddy.

He said: “I first met Sir Teddy when as a young man, before I got into Parliament, I was invited to campaign for him in the Southend East and Rochford by election of 1980.

“I was sent to the home of the former Mayor of Southend, Joan Carlisle and she and I went and canvassed for Teddy.

“I recall vividly walking down Southend High Street with him and thinking our candidate is small in stature with a heavy Scottish accent and the locals didn’t seem to take to him.

“He, to put it mildly, got a rough ride from potential voters. I am not entirely sure why that was but I was told there was some resentment as he had lost his seat in Scotland and it was thought that he had no connections with Southend and that the Conservative Party was imposing a candidate with no local roots. As the vote showed it was a pretty close contest.”

Sir David added: “Fast forwarding to 2005, by which time Teddy retired, he had established himself as Mr Southend.

“He had a reputation for being a first class constituency MP working seven days a week to help local residents, with nothing being too much trouble. This was far removed from the reception he got when first a candidate.”

Sir Teddy mirrored Sir David’s interest in pro-life issues, animal welfare and opposition to fox hunting and shared his concerns of our membership of the European Union.

Sir David added: “ He was an outstanding Parliamentarian and it is a tragedy that he never had the opportunity to serve as a minister because of his views on the EU. He certainly had the intellectual ability to have been a fine minister.

“Parliament has lost a great Parliamentarian, Southend has lost one of its finest ever representatives, but his legacy will live on. I send my deepest sympathies to Sheila and his family.”

Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, remembered Sir Teddy with fondness.

He said: “Sir Teddy Taylor was an extremely popular local MP who served in the House of Commons, between his time in Scotland and his time in Southend, for over 40 years. Sir Teddy had a great way with people and always made himself available for his constituents, who he served with distinction.

“He was also a passionate Eurosceptic, an issue which helped to define his career. He had long been opposed to the growing power of the European Union relative to Westminster and it is fitting in many ways that the Brexit referendum took place before he died.”

Mr Francois added: “As a new MP, he was helpful to me when I first came into the House of Commons and I remember his dry humour with affection. He was a great champion for his constituents and he will be sorely missed.”

“I well remember a story that Sir Teddy Taylor told whilst giving an after dinner speech at a function that I attended.

“The story dates from shortly after he came down from Scotland and won the Southend East by-election in 1980. As a new MP seeking to get to know the Southend area he attended a cricket festival in Chalkwell Park.

“After pulling up a deckchair he made a point of walking around and chatting to spectators who were watching the cricket match when he uttered the immortal phrase “Hello my name’s Teddy Taylor I’m new to this area, could you please tell me which one of these two is the Protestant team?’”

Southend councillors also paid tribute to Sir Teddy.

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, recalled the active part Sir Teddy played in local politics.

She said: “When I first stood for Southend Council in 1996 he said ‘I am going to help you’ and he did. He went to the polling station to help out.

“When I was chairman of the then Southend East Conservative Women’s Association he invited me up to the State Opening of Parliament and took me to lunch afterwards.

“Each month he brought a speaker to our meetings. He brought all the big guys including Alan Clark, John Redwood, Ann Widdecombe and Gillian Shephard.”

Mrs Holland added: “He was a lovely man. He was president of the Southend Music Festival which I am chairman of. Our thoughts are with his wife Sheila and the family.”

Former Lib Dem council leader Graham Longley said: “He was a full supporter of the town and looked after Southend as if it was his own.

“He was always polite , pleasant and helpful. He served the town well. He was always interested in what was going on.

“We might not always have agreed on every policy we discussed but he was always interested and very keen to support us even though we had different political parties. He was very good for the town.”

Sir Teddy published his memoirs – Teddy Boy Blue, describing his upbringing in Glasgow

The committed teetotaller signed the pledge at the age of eight and became the youngest MP at 26 in the 1964 election, shadow Scotland secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s team.

He recalled how he lost Glasgow Cathcart seat and how he landed the safe Tory seat of Southend the following year,.

He spoke of his transformation from the Glasgow street politician into Mr Southend and if his enduring love affair with the town.

Sir Teddy came from a relatively poor but warm and tight-knit family.

He idolised wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill.

His activism became apparent at school when he organised a petition to get rugby replaced by soccer. In a throwaway line in his book, he mentioned that when he took over the debating society, membership soared.

His ability to draw crowds, generate controversy and inject fizz into politics and social issues began at an early age.

The fervour for debate was developed at Glasgow University, and on the streets of that raw city of genius and graft. Glasgow was a hotbed of factional politics, in which Teddy’s debating skills allowed him to flourish like a fish in water.

In his book, Sir Teddy provided an intricate account of his rise through the complexities of Glasgow politics, first as a councillor, then as MP. It is so detailed, in fact, that it is easy to miss the main feature of this part of his career, the speed with which the young politician hurtled up the ladder.

The pattern of Sir Teddy’s career continued throughout the book.

In his book he gave a glimpse of the moment he met his devoted wife, Sheila.

He described collapsing from exhaustion after several all-night sessions in the Commons, and how he met Sheila in a Westminster Hospital, where she was a social worker.

Sir Teddy freely admitted that, but for that enforced absence from politics, he would have been a bachelor.

He also recalled how he took up an almost lone crusade against Brussels, the EC, and the power-crazed European juggernaut that seemed hellbent on eroding the very basics of Britishness.