BEXLEYHEATH’S former MP Sir Cyril Townsend has died.

The former soldier was elected in 1974 and served in Parliament for 23 years until retiring before the 1997 general election.

That year the constituency boundaries were redrawn and the Bexleyheath seat ceased to exist.

Former Erith and Crayford and current Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett paid tribute to his former Conservative parliamentary colleague.

He said: "Sir Cyril was a conscientious and long-serving MP and I was pleased to serve with him in Parliament between 1983-1997.

“We worked together for the interests of our borough of Bexley.

“My condolences to his wife Anita and his family."

Sir Cyril passed away after having been ill for some time. He was 75.