20 Mar 2004
Geoffrey Stewart-Smith, who has died aged 70, was Conservative MP for Belper in Derbyshire for four years after defeating Labour's deputy leader George Brown in the general election of 1970.
A former regular officer in the Black Watch and sometime chairman of the Monday Club's foreign affairs study group, Stewart-Smith was best known for his fervent anti-Communism when the cause was unfashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. As director of the Foreign Affairs Circle and editor of its journal East-West Digest, he saw himself as "one of those awkward non-conformists who feel that we Europeans have both an obligation and duty to help further the cause of liberty in Communist countries".
His books included The Defeat of Communism (1964) and No Vision Here: Non-Military Warfare in Britain (1966), both trenchant condemnations of Britain's failure to meet the threat of Communism. No Vision Here alleged that "vitally important" intelligence reports were being suppressed or blocked from reaching the Prime Minister.
In 1967 Stewart-Smith organised an inter-denominational service at the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate all those who had died as a result of the application of Marxist-Leninist ideology. His estimate of the total, "possibly rather on the conservative side", was 94.8 million. On the back of the programme he provided a breakdown: "Liquidation of Class Enemies and Minorities - 3 million; Deaths in Slave Labour Camps 1921-1960 - 19 million" and so on.
The service was attended by more than 4,500 refugees from behind the Iron Curtain, but although Stewart-Smith sent invitations to every MP and member of the House of Lords, only two of each turned up. In his view, this was typical of those in high places, whom he felt were negligent about Communism to the point of being traitorous.
Dudley Geoffrey Stewart-Smith was born on December 28 1933. He was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, then served from 1952 to 1960 with the Black Watch, including stints in Nigeria and Germany. After resigning his commission, he worked as a financial public relations consultant in addition to his anti-Communist activities.
For several years until becoming an MP he also acted as an adviser to British Military Volunteer Forces, an organisation whose finest hour came in 1966, when a plan to send a battalion of British volunteers to fight with the Americans in Vietnam was discussed with Colonel Frederick Lash, the then US military attache in London.
When this plan failed to gain the approval of the British government, Stewart-Smith negotiated without success to get British volunteers to work in Southern Arabia, Czechoslovakia and Zanzibar. "I was happy to give advice," he later recalled, "but there was never any question of my fighting with them."
Stewart-Smith was adopted as the prospective Parliamentary Conservative candidate for Belper in 1966, and four years later pulled off the most sensational result of election night when he ousted George Brown by 2,000 votes.
Brown's defeat had in fact long seemed likely given that his constituency was marginal and he had spent almost the entire campaign speaking in other parts of the country in support of other Labour candidates. Moreover, Stewart-Smith had been able to make useful capital out of the notoriously thirsty George Brown's inebriated appearance on television during the campaign.
During his four years in Parliament, Stewart-Smith was trenchant in his support for his constituents, to the point of demanding that the government raise their pay offer to miners during the strike. He surprised his Right-wing friends even more by attacking Mrs Thatcher on the ending of school milk.
After losing his seat in 1974, he did not seek re-adoption; rather, he concentrated on publishing anti-Communist literature, as director of the Foreign Affairs Publishing Company. One work he produced was The Hidden face of the Labour Party (1978), an exposé of what he claimed to be the growing preponderance of extremists in the party.
In 1974 he had sought to distance his Foreign Affairs Circle from the World Anti-Communist League because of the WACL's strong anti-Semitic element, saying: "We wouldn't touch them with a barge pole." However, he later admitted that another of his organisations, the Foreign Affairs Research Institute, had been mainly funded by the apartheid government in South Africa. The admission came in 1987 when Stewart-Smith appeared at the London Bankruptcy Court, disclosing debts of £150,388 and no assets.
Three years later Stewart-Smith suffered the further indignity of being turfed out of his flat in Pimlico after falling behind with the rent. His 33-year-old landlord had lured him to the front step of the house on the pretext of trying out a new key, but then snatched his bunch of keys and slammed the door on him. Stewart-Smith was forced to spend the night, wide awake, in a British Telecom workman's hut across the road. Later, he failed in his attempt at the Old Bailey to have the eviction declared unlawful.
Stewart-Smith married, in 1956 (dissolved 1990), Kay Mary. They had three sons.