India-born MP found dead

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Mystery surrounds the “accidental'' death of an India-born Labour MP whose body was found in his home in Middlesbrough, north-east england, on Monday.

Police said Ashok Kumar (53), MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, suffered a “sudden accidental” death but declined to comment on a possible cause saying it was too early to say whether there was anything suspicious about it.

A statement from the local police said: “Police were called to an address on Canberra Road, Marton, in Middlesbrough, at 12.30 p.m. today. Officers entered the property and found the body of a man in his 50s. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.”

A spokesman added: “At this stage it is too early to say whether the death is being treated as suspicious and inquiries are ongoing.”

Dr. Kumar's office said the death was a “huge shock for everyone''.

Breaking the news in the Commons, Speaker John Bercow described him as an “assiduous member'' who was much respected by the House.

“A Labour man”

A chemical engineer by profession, Dr. Kumar was first elected to the Commons in 1991 in a by-election but lost the seat in the 1992 general election. In 1997, he was elected again and retained his seat in subsequent elections. He was a ministerial aide to the Secretary of State for Environment Hillary Benn. “It is very hard to believe that Ashok is no longer with us,” said Mr. Benn describing him as a “doughty fighter for his constituents and a Labour man through and through''.