Leslie Phillips' little known short speech in the Commons witnessed by a handful of MPs

Screen legend Leslie Phillips, star of countless TV and movie roles, once performed on the UK political stage, standing at the despatch box of the House of Commons.

The actor, who has died aged 98, was a regular visitor to parliament, attending several annual dinners of the all-party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, twice as guest speaker.

His despatch box performance - sadly witnessed by only a handful of MPs - came when he was given a tour of parliament in 2011 by the group's chairman, Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight.

"Leslie was a lover of classic cars, dating back to when he made a film called The Fast Lady in 1962, which was all about a vintage Bentley," Sir Greg, a former minister under Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major and David Cameron, told Sky News.

In the film, a comedy also starring Stanley Baxter, James Robertson-Justice and - in her first starring role - Julie Christie, Leslie played a used car salesman who sold the Bentley, a 1927 model in British racing green, to the hapless character played by Baxter.

"Leslie came to parliament several times," Sir Greg revealed. "He was passionate about vintage cars. The car in The Fast Lady is probably worth £500,000 now. After they finished shooting the film he was offered it for £500, but he turned it down.

"He used to tell us he'd been kicking himself ever since. He did have a classic car himself, a Mercedes, but he always regretted not buying the Bentley."

On Leslie's politics, Sir Greg said: "I think he was a Conservative, but not particularly active. He enjoyed politics and being in parliament. I gave him a guided tour and he said he was thrilled to be at the heart of the political establishment.

"He stood at the despatch box in the Commons chamber and said: 'This is marvellous. It makes you proud to be British.' He was a true patriot."

As well as Sir Greg, members of parliament's Historic Vehicles Group include senior Tory MPs Sir John Hayes and Sir Robert Goodwill, Labour whip Mark Tami and Conservative peer Lord Kirkhope.

Sir Greg recalls that as well as attending the group's dinners, Leslie had a fondness for drinking champagne in parliament's elegant Pugin Room overlooking the River Thames, but in his conversations with MPs he insisted he wasn't the cad or comic figure he played in films.

"Except for when someone mentioned Julie Christie, whom he starred with in The Fast Lady," Sir Greg added.

"When Julie Christie was mentioned, he couldn't resist saying his famous catchphrase: 'Ding, dong!'"