Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton MEP candidate Del Singh among Kabul dead

Del Singh Image copyright Unknown
Image caption Del Singh was standing as a candidate for the European Parliament

Labour's MEP candidate for the South East has been confirmed as among 21 people killed in a suicide bomb and gun attack in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Dhamender Singh Phangurha, 39, known as Del Singh, was killed in the attack at a restaurant in the city.

Born and raised in Southampton, he was a volunteer at two charities for the homeless and mentored job seekers.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and other party figures have paid tribute to him.

'Mr Kipling's cakes'

Mr Miliband said: "My thoughts - and the thoughts of the whole Labour Party - are with the family and friends of Del Singh."

Local politicians have also paid tribute.

Southampton Itchen Labour MP John Denham said: "Del was an inspirational man and simply one of the nicest people you could meet.

"Everything he did - delivering development aid in some of the world's most dangerous places, running a charity marathon in the heat of Gaza, or representing the Labour Party - was driven by a passion to make a real difference to people's lives."

Fellow Labour MEP candidate Anneliese Dodds said: "Del was a very generous, warm-hearted man who was passionate about ending injustice and unfairness.

Image copyright Del Singh
Image caption Del Singh had campaigned for Labour at every election since 1992

"He always spoke about how he was proud to have started his working life alongside his mother on the shop floor of Mr Kipling's cakes in Eastleigh.

"Del then worked extremely hard to obtain university qualifications and go on to a career in international development."

Aldershot Labour councillor Keith Dibble tweeted: "Devastated to hear the terrible news of the tragic death of Del Singh. A good friend and colleague. Our thoughts are with his family."

He added: "Del Singh [went] out campaigning with us in Aldershot last year in the county elections. Del we will miss you."

'Brother and friend'

Mr Singh started out working in two food production factories in Eastleigh alongside his mother and then studied in Southampton.

He became an international development specialist managing EU and UN projects in developing countries, including Afghanistan, Libya and Sierra Leone.

As a leader of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME), he was an advocate of Palestinian human rights.

LFPME tweeted: "Last night we lost a son, a brother, a friend in the brutal attack in Kabul. Still can't believe you're gone."

MP for Southampton Test Alan Whitehead earlier described Mr Singh as "an extraordinary asset to Labour in Southampton", which included supporting "community campaigns across the city".

Mr Miliband said: "He dedicated his life to working with people across the world who needed his support."

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