Eastleigh loses its first MP

Daivd Price

Eastleigh’s longest serving Member of Parliament Sir David Price died last week aged 89.

He was MP for Eastleigh for 37 years from 1955 – 1992.

He was knighted in 1980.

Mayor of Eastleigh Cllr Malcolm Cross said in a statement:

“We were all very sad to hear of the death of Sir David Price. He served the constituency and the people of Eastleigh with distinction for many years and our thoughts our with his family at this difficult and sad time.”

David price was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge and served with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards during the war achieving the rank of Major.

Price went onto the world of business and industry – including a spell at ICI – before entering politics.

Speaking to Eastleigh News, the leader of Eastleigh Conservative Group, Councillor Godfrey Olson recalled:

“When I first met David Price I was a member of the selection committee that chose him as our Parliamentary Candidate when Eastleigh was newly formed as a constituency in 1955.

“He and I were both elected in the same year. I was elected in May and he was elected in November.

“I can remember being with him at the count in the old town hall looking at the votes that were being counted

“It was a very close call and I remember David saying to me “I can’t really call this can you? –but he won with a majority of 545.”

Price was to successfully defend his seat a further nine times.

For the almost three decades it was two horse race against Labour who came close again in 1966 when there was just 701 votes between Price and his Labour rival.

By 1979 though, his majority had grown to over 20,000.

Sir David held a couple of junior ministerial post at the Board of Trade and Aerospace.

He was against the death penalty and apartheid and took an interest in disability issues as Cllr Olson related:

“His wife had an accident and was in a wheel chair for many years and he was very devoted to her and cared for her.

“He was very supportive of people with disabilities I remember when, in my 1976 mayoral year I set up the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee activity Centre which provides recreation facilities for people with disabilities he supported us and visited it quite regularly”.

The last time Sir David price rose to speak in the House of Commons it was on the subject of disability living allowance.

Cllr Olson continued:

“He took a very great interest in Eastleigh When the railway works were going though troubled times trying to maintain work there was a great supporter of the railway men

“He gained a lot of respect from people who may not have had the same political views as him but they appreciated him as a worthwhile member of parliament.

“I last saw David Price about two years ago he still had a very active mind and was still very interested in politics.

“At the age of 89 we cant expect to go on forever but I’m sad to hear of his passing”.

There will be a service at St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Hythe at 11.30 am on Thursday 13th February, followed by a private burial at Beaulieu Cemetery.

The family has requested donations to the Stroke Association and Southampton General Hospital.

  2 comments for “Eastleigh loses its first MP

  1. Daniel Clarke
    February 10, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Just one correction, it was 1966 when David Price’s majority was 701. This was Harold Wilson’s landslide. There wasn’t a General Election in 1976. Bill Luffman told me that in the ’50s and ’60s when there were old fashioned public meetings in Eastleigh, he would go along to give David Price some grief about whatever the Tories were doing at that time. David Price gave him the nickname Danny Kaye because of Bill’s hairstyle, so whenever Bill put his hand up, David Price would address him as Danny Kaye. A nice lesson in how politics should be conducted with civility. I can’t think of two people whose politics could be farther apart than Bill and David Price, but I understand that whenever they were both at a community function David Price would always make a beeline to speak to Bill (probably aware that the conversation would be more amusing than with other local dignitaries). Ha.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      February 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Thanks for spotting the typo Dan, now corrected. This is what happens when you have to sub yourself!
      Price frustrated Labour in a series of tight elections but it’s always been frustrating to be a Labour voter in this town.

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