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Pym kicks the bucket


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Former Tory Foreign Secretary Lord Francis Pym has died aged 86 after a prolonged illness, his family said today.

Lord Pym was also Northern Ireland and defence secretaries and a Government chief whip during the Thatcher government.

He served as Foreign Secretary during the 1982 Falklands War after the resignation of Lord Carrington.

Lord Pym's family said in a statement: "Lady Pym and her family are extremely sad to announce the death of her beloved husband Lord Pym after a prolonged illness.

"Francis died at home on March 7 just after midnight."

A private family funeral will take place shortly and a memorial service will be held later in the spring, said the family.

The former Cambridgeshire MP was a thorn in Mrs Thatcher's side as an acknowledged "wet" and founded the Conservative Centre Forward group to combat her monetarist economic policy.

He was unceremoniously sacked by her after the 1983 General Election, despite having been widely held to have performed creditably in his role during the Falklands conflict.

He first entered the Commons in 1961, after a career in business and a distinguished war record.

He was awarded the Military Cross and twice mentioned in despatches after serving as a Captain in the 9th Royal Lancers during the African and Italian campaigns.

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