London: Marsha Singh, who arrived in Britain in the early 1970s from India and went on to represent Bradford West for 15 years, has died four months after resigning from the House of Commons due to poor health.
Punjab-born Singh, 57, was first elected from Bradford West in 1997, and later held several positions, including as member of the Home Affairs Select Committee and a ministerial aide.
Singh held on to his seat despite Labour losing the 2010 general election.
However, the party lost the seat to Respect Party's George Galloway in the March by-election caused by Singh's resignation.
Calling Singh a 'tireless campaigner', 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".
He added, "And while I know he was sad to leave Parliament in 2012, he did so for the right reasons. I send my deepest condolences on behalf of the Labour Party to his family and friends."
Galloway, now the MP from Bradford West, said, "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. I've inherited his parliamentary seat and I will do all I can to honour and respect his legacy."
Singh's first name ? Marsha ? sometimes caused confusion.
He would recall how he had once been referred to in The Times as 'the first Asian woman Member of Parliament', and had even been invited to the first meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party's women's group.
His first wife, Sital Kaur, died in 2001 and he married Kuldip Mann in 2006.
He had two children from his first marriage and two stepchildren.
First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 16:30