Hundreds turn out to mourn MP who ‘fought racism non-stop’

HUNDREDS of mourners, including Labour MPs and party activists, paid their respects at the funeral of former Bradford West MP Marsha Singh.

The service at Scholemoor Crematorium in Bradford yesterday was also relayed to a large number of people who gathered outside, many of them Sikhs.

Mr Singh, who was 57, died in July, four months after he resigned from parliament because of ill health.

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He had held the seat for 15 years after being elected first in 1997.

Mourners at his funeral included Labour MPs and former MPs, among them Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe, Hugh Bayley, Denis MacShane, Mike Wood, Phil Woolas and Terry Rooney and the Labour Party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol.

Also there was Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, council leader Councillor Dave Green, council officers and Bradford’s first Asian Lord Mayor, Mohammed Ajeeb.

Mr MacShane, writing on Twitter, called Mr Singh a “gentle, smiling, principled man who fought racism non-stop”.

The service was told that Mr Singh had been a committed “socialist, internationalist and Bradfordian”.

Friends paying tribute recalled his charisma and kindness, his love of chess – he had captained the school team – and his twin passions for Latin and German while a schoolboy at Belle Vue Boys’ School in Bradford.

Those who gave tributes included former journalist Peter Carroll and Ramindar Singh, the deputy lieutenant of West Yorkshire.

Mr Singh called him a “tireless campaigner for diversity and equality” as well as a great supporter of multiculturalism.

A message from Labour leader Ed Miliband was read out at the funeral, describing Mr Singh as a great man who presence in the House of Commons would be missed.

Shortly after Mr Singh’s death, Mr Miliband had called him a “tireless” campaigner and representative of the people of Bradford West.

Mr Singh served as a ministerial aide and worked on the Home Affairs Committee.

Respect’s George Galloway won the resulting by-election following his resignation, overturning Labour’s almost 6,000 majority.

Mr Singh, who was born in India and grew up in Bradford, leaves two children and two stepchildren.