Prime Minister pays tribute to Croydon MP Malcolm Wicks
1:50pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in News
Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks, describing him as "a thoroughly decent, intelligent and compassionate man.
The 65-year-old Labour MP died on Saturday after losing his battle with cancer.
He had represented Croydon since 1992, and had lived in the borough for over 30 years.
Married father of three and grandfather of seven, Mr Wicks announced he was being treated for cancer last October, but continued to work.
Tributes poured in for the politician nationally and locally, with Tony Blair and David Cameron among those to pay their respects.
Remembering Mr Wicks, Mr Cameron said: "In public service for all the right reasons, Malcolm was widely respected on all sides of the House.
"I will remember Malcolm as one of the most kind, compassionate, thoughtful and decent politicans."
During his 30-years in Croydon, Mr Wicks was heavily involved in both in the community and politically.
He tackled various issues on behalf of his constituents and pledged his support to numerous campaigns, including a campaign to save the borough's heritage services after discovering his Croydon roots buried in the borough's archives.
After the riots he heavily criticised Prime Minister David Cameron over police cuts and condemned the "virtually invisible" presence of police in his constituency.
He led calls for an independent enquiry into the riots and requested the Met Police Commissioner to investigate claims police reinforcements were sent away from the borough in the height of the disorder.
But the MP also came under criticism during his time in office, notably in 2007, when he was accused of environmental hypocrisy when he undertook a five day trip to Antarctica to see the effects of climate change.
He had a keen interest in local organisations and was Vice-President of South-East Cancer Centre and patron of the West Croydon Refugee Centre and the Bangladesh Welfare Association.
Politicians from across the political spectrum have paid tribute Mr Wicks including ex-Prime Ministers Tony Blair, who said his "wonderful colleague" would be "greatly missed" and Gordon Brown who described him as "a great thinker, writer, campaigner and parliamentarian."
Labour party leader, Ed Miliband described him as a "thoroughly decent, intelligent and compassionate man" and said his death left a "huge hole" in the party.
Leader of Croydon Labour Group Councillor Tony Newman, said his death was a tragic loss to many, while speaking at the Labour Party conference on Sunday, Councillor Maggie Mansell paid tribute to "a leader who inspired everyone to do their best, then do better."
Mr Wicks was described as a "champion of Croydon," by Conservative Councillor Mike Fisher, leader of Croydon Council, and Gavin Barwell MP for Croydon Central described the news of his passing as "very sad" and said he was "a good friend."
It is understood Mr Wicks will have a private funeral, with a public memorial service to be held at a later date.
A book of condolence has been opened at Mr Wicks' constituency office in London Road and another is at Croydon town hall.
A tribute from his constituency staff said: "It was a real privilege to work for Malcolm, he was a warm, generous man who always made us feel valued.
"He always believed his office should be accessible and in the heart of the community. Malcolm made you believe you could change the world for the better and never gave up trying."
Mr Wicks married his wife Margaret in 1968, he is survived by her, their son Roger, and two daughters Caroline and Sarah.