Bruce George, the former Labour MP for Walsall South, has died at the age of 77.
He served the area as MP for 36 years from 1974 and was also chairman of the Commons defence select committee from 1997 to 2005.
His wife, Lisa, said her husband, who was appointed to the Privy Council, had been a "conscientious and assiduous constituency MP".
He died after a long illness, his family said.
Mr George was also a visiting lecturer at several universities.
He wrote, co-authored and edited books, chapters and articles.
Mrs George said the politician was "somewhat unusual amongst long-serving MPs in never seeking to join the frontbench".
She added: "Rather, he felt passionately about the need for a robust select committee system capable of scrutinising and holding the government to account."
Mr George, who retired in 2010, was a member of the defence select committee from 1979 and a long-serving delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, his wife added.
A keen footballer - he was invited to a youth trial for Cardiff City when he was 17 - the MP was a co-founder, captain and goalkeeper of the Commons football club the Westminster Wobblers, she said.
Mrs George stated although "his international work frequently took him abroad, he always insisted on being back in his beloved adopted town of Walsall by Thursday night".
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