Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

Labour MP David Taylor dies following heart attack

David Taylor MP
David Taylor collapsed while out walking with his family

David Taylor, the Labour MP for North West Leicestershire, has died after suffering a heart attack while walking with his family.

The 63-year-old had been walking in the grounds of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire, on Saturday. He died at Queen's Hospital, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.

Gordon Brown paid tribute to Mr Taylor, describing him as "one of the most hard working MPs locally and nationally".

Mr Taylor won his seat in 1997 and his majority in 2005 was 4,477.

He had been due to step down as the MP for North West Leicestershire at the next general election.

The prime minister said Mr Taylor had been "a strong campaigner and representative of his community for decades".

He was a great campaigner in the East Midlands, a very caring person and a popular local MP
Phil Hope MP

Mr Brown went on to praise the MP's "indefatigable campaigning, constant attendance in the Commons and his independence of mind - no greater tribute can be made to David's lasting legacy as a local champion for North West Leicestershire".

Regional Minister for the East Midlands Phil Hope MP said: "I am shocked and saddened at this news and my thoughts are with his family at this time.

"He was a great campaigner in the East Midlands, a very caring person and a popular local MP who believed deeply in the principles of social justice and co-operation. He will be much missed."

Labour MP for Leicester South Sir Peter Soulsby said: "It's a terrible shock.

"I'd known David for many years, long before he was a member of Parliament and he's remained unchanged through all of those years.

"He was kind, considerate, passionately committed and the absolute model of a backbencher."

Backbencher award

Mr Taylor had cited an "excessive workload" for his decision in May 2008 to stand down at the next general election and said he had faced increased abuse from constituents and in some cases threats to his life.

He had said it had been an "enormous privilege" to represent the constituency and said at the time: "The vast bulk of people you come into contact with are good, decent people."

Before becoming an MP Mr Taylor was a member of Heather Parish Council and North West Leicestershire District Council.

He worked as an accountant and computer manager at Leicestershire County Council between 1977 and 1997.

In 2007, Mr Taylor was voted Backbencher of the Year.

He served on three select committees, including the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and he was chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

Deborah Arnott, director of the anti-smoking campaign group Ash, said Mr Taylor was "crucial in getting the smoking ban legislation through parliament".

During the 1980s Mr Taylor was a keen long distance runner, competing in several half marathons and full marathons including the 1989 London Marathon in which he finished in just over three hours.

In the 1990s he cycled routes including the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast.

He is survived by four daughters and his wife Pam.

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