Hereford & Worcester

Former Hereford Liberal Democrat MP Paul Keetch dies

Paul Keetch
Image caption Mr Keetch served as the Liberal Democrats' defence spokesperson

Senior politicians have paid tribute to former Hereford MP Paul Keetch who has died at the age of 56.

Mr Keetch, who served as the area's Liberal Democrat MP from 1997 to 2010, was the party's defence spokesperson and played a role in its decision to oppose involvement in the 2003 Iraq War.

Mr Keetch died in London on Wednesday following a long illness.

His family said he had been proud to represent Hereford, where he was born.

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'Exemplary judgement'

In a statement, they said: "He was an advocate of putting Herefordshire on the map and would take every opportunity to do so."

Lib Dem president Baroness Sal Brinton described Mr Keetch as a man of "absolute principle".

"He cared passionately about the people he represented in Herefordshire and was an assiduous local MP," she said.

"His knowledge of foreign affairs and the experience of individual people in some of the most difficult places in the world informed his role on national issues. We will miss him."

The party's former leader Lord Campbell said Mr Keetch was "an enthusiast in everything he did".

He added: "He had a special interest in defence, in which he showed exemplary judgement. It was a pleasure to work with him."