Terence Patrick 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, when he lost to Labour's Michael Cocks. He was educated at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford (DipEcon).
Member of Parliament
Dicks 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." 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 (Mr. Cormack) reminds me of Henry VIII not with all the doublet and hose, but at least well fed.” 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.
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?" 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.'" These remarks returned to light in 2013, in the wake of Mandela's death, to the embarrassment of 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. 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), descriptions of immigrants to Britain as "the flotsam and jetsam from all over the world," 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 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.
Dicks called for the BBC soap opera EastEnders to be cancelled following a storyline involving a gay kiss between two men.
Dicks was born with cerebral palsy and referred to himself in the House of Commons as a "spastic." From 1999 until he retired in June 2009 Dicks was a member of Surrey County Council representing the town of Addlestone. Since 2011, he was a Runnymede District Councillor for Chertsey South and Row Town.
Dicks died on 17 May 2020.
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