Labour leader Ed Miliband has paid tribute to Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, the former MP for Birmingham Erdington, who has died aged 78.

He said: “It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Robin Corbett. He was a good and principled man who will be greatly missed in Westminster.

“As an MP Robin always championed those causes close to his heart with passion and dedication - whether it be prison reform, animal welfare or safeguarding civil liberties.

"It was also thanks to Robin that the anonymity of rape victims found its way onto the statute book.

“Robin was a popular Chair of the Labour Peers group and I know his colleagues in the House of Lords will miss his wit, passion and good humour.

"Above all, he was Labour through and through, deeply rooted in values of equality and social justice. Robin was also as loyal and dedicated as they come.

“My deep condolences go to his wife Val and his three children.”

Lord Corbett died on Sunday February 19 with his wife and family present. He had been suffering from cancer.

He was MP for Hemel Hempstead from 1974 to 79 and for Birmingham Erdington from 1983-2001. Before entering politics he was a journalist, working for the Birmingham Mail and later the Daily Mirror and Farmers Weekly.

Lord Corbett was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, on December 22 1933. His family were Brits who had emigrated,, and they returned to Britain when he was a toddler. He was educated at Holly Lodge grammar school in Smethwick.

A number of colleagues paid tribute on internet messaging service Twitter. Birmingham Lord Mayor Councillor Anita Ward said: “Just heard my good friend Robin Corbett has passed away. A great guy and MP for Erdington. Sad day.”

MP Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) said: “RIP Robin, Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. A valued colleague as Erdington’s Labour MP for many years and a fun friend.”

And Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) said: “Missing great Labour man, MP for Erdington and generous colleague. Castle Vale is his living legacy. Thinking of his family.”