Former Labour MP for Bassetlaw Joe Ashton dies

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Joe AshtonImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Joe Ashton was appointed OBE for public service in 2007

Former Labour MP Joe Ashton has died aged 86, his family has confirmed.

Mr Ashton, who was born in Sheffield, represented the Nottinghamshire seat of Bassetlaw for 33 years from 1968-2001.

As well as being a politician, Mr Ashton became a columnist, an author and a playwright as well as director of Sheffield Wednesday football club.

His death was unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, and his family said he had been been suffering with dementia.

There will be no public funeral because of the current restrictions, however a memorial service is due to take place later in the year.

'RIP Dad'

His daughter, journalist Lucy Ashton, said on Twitter: "My dad has passed away.

"I wasn't able to be with him at the end because of Covid-19.

"The funeral will just be me and my husband and I can't even buy flowers.

"So I wrote this because it's the only way I can pay tribute to him and say goodbye. RIP Dad."

'Rich, lasting legacy'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to a "lifelong and faithful servant of the Labour Party".

"He grew up in poverty in Sheffield and never lost sight of the suffering and struggles people endure in and out of work and this guided his political life," he said.

"He was a huge character and leaves a rich and lasting legacy. He will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time - his daughter Lucy and son-in-law Kevin and their two children."

Mr Ashton was appointed OBE for public service in 2007.

John Mann, Mr Ashton's successor as MP for Bassetlaw, tweeted: "Joe Ashton, who died today, Bassetlaw MP 1968-01.

"One of his last constituent MP letters began: 'you are a pillock and a prat'. Old school, plain speaking, honest."

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