London: The British Police continued
investigations into the death 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 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
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.
"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 said.
Conservative MP Ed Vaizey also offered his condolences in
the House of Commons, adding: "He and I became good friends,
not least because he was the only MP who had read my father`s
seminal history of British Steel."
Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of
Chemistry, said: "The sad and sudden news of Ashok`s death is
a terrible and unexpected blow."
British Humanist Association chief executive Andrew
Copson said: "Ashok was especially interested in education,
and was opposed to the divisive and discriminatory faith
schools system, preferring inclusive schools and objective
religious education, not religious instruction.
In fact, Ashok spoke of the dangers of segregation and
religious indoctrination consistently over the last decade,
and in almost every Education Bill."