Tributes to former MP Marsha Singh
Labour leader Ed Miliband has led tributes to former MP Marsha Singh who has died, aged 57, four months after quitting the Commons due to ill health.
Mr Singh announced he was stepping down in March after representing Bradford West since the Labour landslide of 1997. In one of the biggest UK by-election shocks, his 18,000-plus majority was then overturned by Respect's George Galloway.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "I was very sad to learn of Marsha's death. He was a tireless representative of the people of Bradford West. Politics gave him the opportunity to make a positive difference to the community he grew up in and was so proud of. To him, it was a privilege to represent them.
"And while I know he was sad to leave Parliament earlier this year, he did so for the right reasons. I send my deepest condolences on behalf of the Labour Party to his family and friends."
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna wrote on Twitter: "So sad to hear of the death of our colleague and friend. All our thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time." Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith described him as "a lovely, warm man of great integrity".
Mr Singh, who was a ministerial aide and served on the home affairs and international development select committees, leaves two children and two stepchildren.
At the time he stepped down to fight serious illness, he described his passion for Bradford, where he grew up and his son and daughter were born. He told his local newspaper that his proudest achievement was steering through private member's legislation restricting the amount of capital a local authority can take into account when deciding whether someone is entitled to residential accommodation.
The Labour leader of Bradford Council, David Green, said: "I've known Marsha for 30 years - ever since I came to Bradford. He showed immense commitment to Bradford through all the years that I've known him. I will remember his fights for justice and how he led the fight against the racism that was around in the district in the 80s and early 90s."
Mr Galloway said he would do all he could to honour Mr Singh's legacy in Bradford West.
The Respect MP said: "I can't tell you how sad I am to hear of Marsha Singh's death and my condolences and best wishes go out to his family. I didn't know him well personally but colleagues in the House and the staff regarded him as a real treasure. He was well-liked and well-respected."