Tributes to Ashok Kumar MP

Ashok KumarTributes have been paid to Ashok Kumar, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland who died of a heart attack at his home on Monday.

Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party said;

"I was greatly saddened by the sudden death of Ashok Kumar.
"Ashok was a hardworking constituency MP who took pride in representing the people of Middlesbrough as both a councillor and MP since 1987. He was a tenacious campaigner for his constituents and a warm and incredibly generous man.
"I first met him at the by election in 1991 and, although he lost his seat in 1992, it was a pleasure to welcome him back to parliament in 1997. His longstanding campaigns to keep shipbuilding in Teesside were respected by all sides of the house.
"A former research scientist at Imperial College, Ashok worked for many years at the local British Steel plant and continued to support his passion for science and technology during his time at Westminster where his expertise and wise counsel will be missed."

Nick Brown MP, Chief Whip and Regional Minister for the North East said;

“The suddenness of Ashok’s death has made it even harder for his friends in the North East and at Westminster. He was due in Westminster this morning.

His friends are talking about his fantastic by-election victory, his many acts of personal kindness, his scientific background and his Parliamentary work on overseas development and the environment. Above all Ashok will be remembered as a campaigning champion for Teesside, most recently because of the energy and passion that he put into the campaign around Corus.

He had the highest constituent contact rate of any constituency Member of Parliament in the North East of England – reflecting both his determination to do the job well, but also his affection for people and their problems. We’re going to miss him very much. “

Hilary Benn MP, Labour’s Secretary of State for the Environment said;

“I am deeply shocked and saddened by this news.  It is very hard to believe that Ashok is no longer with us.

Ashok was a pioneer, a doughty fighter for his constituents and a Labour man through and through who cared deeply for others.  He was also fearless in pursuit of what he saw as right.

I came to value his friendship, his loyalty and his sense of fun over the many years we worked together. It is why he will be greatly missed by so many of us.”

Vera Baird MP, Member of Parliament for Redcar said;

"I have had the privilege to have known Ashok since the late 80's when we both Labour Party activists in the North East. The last time I saw him was Wednesday, we walked past each other and said hello, much as you do with someone you are expecting to see in the next couple of days.
"The last time we spent a significant amount of time together was back in December when we were both part of a team of local MP's who went to see Gordon Brown to discuss the future of the Corus plant in Redcar. It was a long trip and Ashok was in fine form, you could see how much the future of the plant meant to him.
"It is a loss for Parliament but a devastating one for his constituents, for whom he was a first-rate constituency MP. I am personally saddened by his passing and full of concern for his family."

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP , Member of Parliament for City of Durham said;

“I am absolutely shocked and utterly saddened by the news that Ashok has died.  He was such a hard-working MP and so well liked in his constituency, to which he was completely dedicated, as well as throughout the North East and by his parliamentary colleagues.  My thoughts are with his family, his staff and his constituents who will all be mourning his passing today.”