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

Former Labour MP Kevin McNamara, from Formby who served his Hull constituency for nearly 40 years, has died aged 82 on the 6th August.

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.

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.

Formby Labour branch secretary, Nina Killen said: "Everybody in the Labour party in Formby was saddened to hear of the death of Kevin McNamara and our thoughts are with his family."

Formby Bubble spoke to sefton MP Bill Esterson, he said: "I was very sad to learn of the death of, Kevin McNamara. Kevin was a Member of Parliament before I was first elected. I met Kevin a number of times at Labour Party events in my constituency and am very grateful for the support he gave me, which included some excellent advice. That advice included the importance for politicians of looking after your family and of getting the work life balance right. Kevin moved to Formby to be closer to his own family after he stepped down from parliament in 2005 and he became a stalwart of our community, serving on the Formby Pool Trust and becoming active in the Irish Community in Liverpool."

"Kevin was the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 1987 to 1995 and played a key part in the early stages of the peace process, which led to the Good Friday Agreement."

"He represented Hull North from 1966 to 2005. One of Kevin's first acts was to persuade the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson to approve the building of the Humber Bridge. By all accounts, Kevin was a fantastic MP for his Hull constituents throughout his time in parliament. My colleagues from Hull all speak fondly of Kevin and former Deputy Prime Minister, who was a neighbouring MP, described Kevin as a 'class act'."

"Kevin was born in Liverpool in 1934. He attended St Mary’s college in Crosby and studied law at University College Hull, where he met his future wife, Nora. They married in 1960. He became head of history at St Mary’s grammar school in Hull and then a law lecturer, before unsuccessfully contesting Bridlington for Labour in 1964."

"Kevin always remembered his roots and in 1997, he persuaded Prime Minister, Tony Blair to match funding by the Irish government for a memorial in Liverpool to the victims of the Irish potato famine. I have fond memories of Kevin and my thoughts are with Nora and with the rest of Kevin's family."

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."

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.

Our deepest sympathy to all his family and friends.

Picture courtesy of BBC NEWS

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