Former Hull MP Kevin McNamara dies aged 82

Kevin McNamara was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer after falling
Image caption Kevin McNamara was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer

Former Labour MP Kevin McNamara, who served his Hull constituency for nearly 40 years, has died aged 82.

The former shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer after falling ill while on holiday in Spain.

Mr McNamara, who represented Hull North from 1966 to 2005, had no previous symptoms and died at his home in Formby, Merseyside, his family said.

Tributes have been paid tribute to the "widely respected" politician.

Mr McNamara's family said he was staying in Carboneras and was "pain-free" before becoming suddenly unwell last month.

He was taken out of the Spanish town by air ambulance and admitted to Southport and Formby District General Hospital on 28 July.

'Widely respected'

In a statement, his family said: "He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, following a short and unexpected illness."

They also thanked medical staff in Carboneras and Almeria, and NHS staff and an insurance company who helped Mr McNamara return home.

Tributes have been paid to the politician on social media.

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott, who was also a Hull MP for many years, called him "a class act".

Posting an image of himself with Mr McNamara on Twitter, he wrote: "From securing the Humber Bridge, working for peace in Northern Ireland & serving North Hull with distinction, Kevin McNamara was a class act."

Labour MP for Hull East Karl Turner tweeted: "Sorry to hear that former MP for Hull North Kevin McNamara passed away earlier today.

"He was widely respected and will be missed greatly."

Mr McNamara, who was born in Liverpool in 1934, graduated in law at the then University College Hull before meeting his wife, Nora, who he married in 1960.

He became head of history at Hull's St Mary's Grammar School before becoming a law lecturer.

In 1966 he won the Hull North seat for the Labour Party, two years after unsuccessfully contesting Bridlington in 1964.

Mr McNamara held a range of positions during his parliamentary career, including shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland between 1987 and 1995, followed by shadow minister for the civil service between 1995 and 1996. He was a backbencher under Tony Blair before he stood down from his seat in 2005.

Mr McNamara leaves behind his wife Nora, three sons and a daughter. Another of his sons died before him.