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Gordon Brown pays tributes to Ashok Kumar

March 16, 2010 17:51 IST

The British police continued investigations into the death of Indian-born Labour member of Parliament, Ashok Kumar, treating it as "unexplained" as Prime Minister Gordon Brown patted his contribution to the country.

Describing Kumar as "a tenacious campaigner", Brown said the MP was "a warm and incredibly generous man".

He said he was "greatly saddened" by his sudden death and added: "Ashok was a hard-working constituency MP who took pride in representing the people of Middlesbrough as both a councillor and MP since 1987. His long-standing campaigns to keep shipbuilding in Teesside were respected by all sides of the House."

The 53-year-old Labour MP was found dead at his home yesterday and the Cleveland police said they were treating his death as "unexplained" and inquiries were being carried out.

A spokesman for Kumar's office said his death had come as "a huge shock". "Ashok was a fine politician who served his constituency and his constituents with diligence and unswerving commitment. He was a natural fighter and a community leader."

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, to whom Kumar was a House of Commons aide said: "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.

Kumar suffered a "sudden accidental" death, his office had said yesterday. 

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