Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Note: There is another Edward Taylor (1642–1729) who was a puritian poet.
Taylor was a journalist on the Glasgow Herald. He first entered Parliament in the 1964 election as MP for Glasgow Cathcart, and became a Scottish Office minister in Edward Heath's government. He resigned from this position in protest at the British signup to the EEC. He was a controversial figure in his time in Scottish politics, known as Teddy "dial-a-quote" and "bring back the birch" Taylor. Brian Wilson, journalist and later Labour MP, memorably wrote that calling him by a nice cuddly name like "Teddy" was "like calling the hound of the Baskervilles 'Rover'". Thanks to his strong personal following he held onto what was basically a working-class constituency in Cathcart, one of only two Conservative seats in Glasgow in the 1970s.
He was close to Margaret Thatcher, served as her Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, and it is expected that he would have become her Secretary of State for Scotland if he had held his seat at the 1979 election. However, Scotland bucked the British trend by showing a slight swing from Conservative to Labour: Taylor had the dubious distinction of being the only Conservative MP at that election (other than by-election victors) to lose his seat, to John Maxton.
Taylor re-entered Parliament at a 1980 by-election for Southend East following the death of Steven McAdam , then, since 1997, representing Rochford and Southend East. Policies of his include withdrawal from the European Union, the re-introduction of capital punishment, and of judicial corporal punishment of young offenders (birching, abolished in 1947). During John Major's government he was one of the Maastricht Rebels, and was expelled from the parliamentary party. Taylor stood down at the May 2005 general election.
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