Sunderland MPs have paid tribute to Charles Kennedy.
The death of the former Liberal Democrat leader at the age of 55 has shocked Westminster.
Mr Kennedy had served as an MP for 32 years, but was ousted from his Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency last month as the SNP swept the board north of the border in the general election.
His death at home was announced yesterday.
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “Charles Kennedy was a fine Parliamentarian, a principled and decent man who will be missed by MPs from across all political parties.
“My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Charles was dedicated, principled and widely respected, as well as being a popular politician, both within Parliament and with the general public.Sharon Hodgson
Her colleague for Washington and Sunderland West, Sharon Hodgson, said: “This is such sad and shocking news.
“Charles was dedicated, principled and widely respected, as well as being a popular politician, both within Parliament and with the general public.”
And Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said: “It is a huge loss to British politics.
“I think Charles Kennedy still had a great deal to offer, not least in any debate ahead of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
“My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
News of Mr Kennedy’s death united politicians from all sides of the Commons.
His successor as Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said Mr Kennedy’s death “robs Britain of one of the most gifted politicians of his generation”, while Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of a man he described as “a talented politician who has died too young”.
Police were called to Mr Kennedy’s home in Fort William on Monday, after being alerted by the ambulance service.
It is understood that the politician’s body was found in the house by a friend. The cause of his death is not yet known but it is not thought by police to be suspicious.