Here in Uruguay, news drifted over the internet of the death last week of former Bradford West MP Marsha Singh. I knew he had been unwell for sometime (hence the by election resulting in the election of George Galloway earlier in the year) but few knew the advanced stage of his illness.
I always voted for him, despite my misgivings about the national and local Labour Party. This was due to his good nature, and the fact that he was a person of principle, not always found in the big parties.
He always helped out where he could, from Asylum Seeker issues to campaigns against Tuition Fees. My last major dealings with him were when we were occupying the University administration offices over the announcement of £9,000 fees. He gave unhesitating support and good advice.
He stood firm against whip pressure to vote against Trident, and was one of the brave MPs to vote against Blair in the run up to the war in Iraq.
His record and involvement on education and health matters are impressive. A true socialist who pragmatically made a real difference to society. I was very sad when it became obvious that he would be standing down.
The pressures on him surely had their toll, but I always found him accessible and ready to help even when others claimed he had overstayed his welcome.
So a belated word of thanks to Marsha, and condolences to friends and family who will miss him greatly. The Labour Party has lost another 'man of the people'.