Former Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair and current Labour leader Ed Miliband have paid tribute to Labour/Co-op MP Alan Keen, who has died at the age of 73 after a long battle against cancer.
MP for Feltham and Heston since 1992, Mr Keen was chairman of the all-party Football Group at Westminster and was a member of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sports Committee.
He was joined in the Commons by his wife, Ann, who was elected to the neighbouring London seat of Brentford & Isleworth in 1997, though Mrs Keen was defeated at last year’s general election after the couple became embroiled in the 2009 Parliamentary expenses scandal.
Before becoming an MP, Mr Keen had been a member of Hounslow Borough Council for four years and was also a part-time scout for Middlesbrough Foootball Club, having been brought up in the Teesside area.
Said Mr Brown: “Alan was a great MP, locally popular, and a great fighter for local causes. I salute his bravery in facing cancer – he will be remembered as someone who taught us how to fight illness.”
Tony Blair said Mr Keen would be sadly missed as a “hard-working MP and a dedicated constituency campaigner. Alan was a fantastic advocate for sport as a force for good in society.”
Commented Ed Miliband: “Alan was a decent, generous man, Labour to his core – loyal, passionate about social justice and deeply committed to a fairer society. He was great friend to me and he will be sorely missed by all.”
Martin O’Donovan, the Director and Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party, also paid tribute to Mr Keen saying his enthusiasm for the principles of co-operation reflected the man he was and the life he led.
Despite revelations that Mr and Mrs Keen had jointly claimed almost £1.7 million in Parliamentary expenses over a seven-year period, Alan Keen retained his Feltham & Heston seat last year, though his majority was reduced to 4,658.
A by-election is expected to be held early in the new year.