Midland Labour politicians last night paid tribute to former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook following his death during a walking holiday in Scotland.
Mr Cook, aged 59, collapsed with an apparent heart attack after scaling a peak in the north of Scotland, and is understood to have injured himself further in his fall.
Rescuers who flew to the scene by helicopter attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead within minutes of being airlifted to hospital in nearby Inverness on Saturday afternoon.
Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart said Mr Cook's death had come as a shock. "There is always shock when someone so young, with a couple of decades ahead of him in politics, dies. In many ways Robin will be of the greatest loss to a future Gordon Brown Government because his forensic skill as a debater would be able to bridge theoretical gaps in the party," she said.
" He was vehemently opposed to military action in Iraq but was intellectually capable of arguing a sound case during the election that Muslims, for example, should still vote Labour."
Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, said Mr Cook would be remembered as a "great parliamentarian". "I didn't personally agree with Robin over Iraq but no one could fail to be impressed with his speech and the way he handled his resignation."
Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said: "I saw him last week at Parliament and he was as charming as ever.
"He was a Labour man through and through and despite his opposing views over the war in Iraq, he never left the Labour party or stopped supporting it. Robin was an immense intellect, always willing to give advice to new young Parliamentarians like myself and he will be sorely missed by all."
The racing and equestrian world also paid tribute to Mr Cook, who was a staunch fan of racing and often represented its interests in political decision-making.