LORD Chidgey, the former MP for Eastleigh, has died, aged 79 after an illness.

The death on Tuesday (February 15) was announced by the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords.

As David Chidgey he won a famous byelection victory at Eastleigh in 1994 following the death of Conservative MP Stephen Milligan. Along with the victories in Romsey and Winchester it formed part of the Lib Dems 'golden triangle' of seats in Hampshire for many years.

An engineer by profession, he was serving as a city councillor in Winchester at the time and went on as an MP until he retired at the 2005 General Election when he was elevated to the House of Lords.

READ MORE HERE: Southern Water discharged raw sewage into Winchester's chalk streams

Married to April for more than 50 years, a father of three, he lived in Jacklyns Lane in Alresford for many years.

Tributes have been paid to the peer widely liked on all sides of politics. Announcing the news, a tweet from Lib Dem peers in the Lords said: "We are so sad that our own David Chidgey died peacefully earlier today following a period of illness. A good man, and a formidable campaigner, he won a stunning by-election in Eastleigh in 1994 and spoke passionately on a range of issues in both the Commons &Lords. RIP, kind sir."

Winchester city councillor Martin Tod tweeted: "Very sorry to hear this news. David lived locally and remained ambitious for what we could and should be doing as Liberal Democrats - locally, nationally and internationally - every time we met. A big loss: I will miss his energy, support and advice."

He started his political career locally on New Alresford Parish Council in the 1970s and also fought the Hampshire Central European Parliament constituency in 1988 and at the 1989 European Parliament election.

Lord Chidgey remained active to the end and was campaigning against pollution in Hampshire chalk streams. In January the Chronicle reported his anger at news that Southern Water had discharged untreated sewage into Hampshire’s fragile chalk streams including the rivers Test, Itchen, Meon, and the River Hamble, for nearly 6,994 hours.

He branded it "scandalous" saying it was killing the rivers and added: “In terms of ecology, the amount of oxygen in our streams is vital for all types of wildlife. In terms of nutrients, very expert people have been tearing their hair out for decades, the River Arle where I live nearby, is slowly and progressively dying. It is not barren but it is almost there, where are all the fish and wildlife that anyone in the countryside would expect to see, it is now missing.”

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