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  Former Liberal MP Cyril Smith dies aged 82
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ContributorNew Jerusalem 
Last EditedNew Jerusalem  Sep 03, 2010 10:18am
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AuthorBBC News
News DateFriday, September 3, 2010 04:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe veteran Liberal Democrat politician Sir Cyril Smith has died at the age of 82, the party has confirmed.

Sir Cyril represented the constituency of Rochdale as an MP, both for the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats, for 20 years.

He was one of the party's most recognisable and high-profile figures, retiring from Parliament in 1992.

He was chief whip during Jeremy Thorpe's turbulent leadership of the party during the 1970s.

A Lib Dem spokesman said Sir Cyril had been ill for many months and had died on Friday morning, with members of his family by his bedside.

Fiercely independent and blunt-speaking, Sir Cyril frequently clashed with his party over issues such as capital punishment, nuclear weapons and abortion.

He was sceptical about the party's merger with the SDP in the 1980s as well as its pact with Labour in the 1970s which kept Jim Callaghan's government in office.

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