London: India-born Labour MP Ashok Kumar,
who was known as a natural fighter and community leader in his
north-east England constituency of Middlesbrough South and
East Cleveland, was on Monday found dead in his house.
Kumar, 53, suffered a "sudden accidental" death, his
office has said.
"At this stage it is too early to say whether the death
is being treated as suspicious and inquiries are ongoing," a
police spokesman said.
House of Commons speaker John Bercow paid tributes to
Kumar at the start of business.
"It came as a huge shock to everyone. Ashok was a fine
politician who served his constituency and his constituents
with diligence and unswerving commitment," a spokesman for
Kumar`s office said.
"He was a natural fighter and a community leader. He
first won his seat in 1991 in a by-election, only to narrowly
lose it in the 1992 general election. Undaunted, he stood
again and in 1997 regained the seat and successful defended it
in following contests," he added.
Announcing the news to the House of Commons on Monday
afternoon, Bercow said, "Ashok was a most assiduous Member,
much respected by the House and by professional background a
very fine chemical engineer.
"I am sure members on all sides of the House will join me
in mourning the loss of a colleague and extending our sympathy
to the honourable member`s family and friends."
In the House of Commons, Kumar worked with Environment
Secretary Hilary Benn, who said he was "deeply shocked and
"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 said.
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, Benn added.