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Britain's oldest 'India-born' MP dies

Piara Khabra, who died at the age of 82, had been undergoing treatment for liver problems at a west London hospital.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2007 17:53 IST

Indian-born Piara Khabra, who was Britain's oldest member of parliament, has died at the age of 82, it was announced here Wednesday.

Khabra, from the Punjab, had been undergoing treatment for liver problems at Hammersmith Hospital in west London. He died on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair led MPs in paying tribute.

"He was a tireless campaigner, particularly on the issues of international development and racial equality," the prime minister said in the House of Commons.

"He was a tremendous servant to his constituents. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

A member of parliament in Blair's governing Labour Party, Khabra represented Ealing Southall, a west London constituency with a large South Asian population.

Khabra came to Britain in the 1950s and became one of a small number of people of South Asian origin to have made it into parliament when he was first elected in 1992.

He had previously served in the Indian army and worked as a teacher before becoming involved in Southall community politics through the Indian Workers Association.

"Piara Khabra was a remarkable servant of the people, devoting his life to helping his constituents and providing service to the community," said his parliamentary researcher Julian Bell.

"At an age when most people had long since retired he was still energetically tackling individual and constituency problems. His service and political wisdom will be sadly missed."