CATHOLIC MP Sean Hughes, Labour member for Knowsley South and a shadow defence minister, died this week at the age of 44.
Labour leader Neil Kinnock praised his friend's "brave fight" against cancer. He had been ill for several months.
"Sean's death is a terrible tragedy that fills me and countless others in the Labour movement with a deep sadness," said Mr Kinnock.
"I cherished my strong personal and political friendship with him and greatly valued his hard-headed, courageous and progressive socialism and his kindness and good humour. He was a fine representative of his constituents and a great asset to the Labour party, both as a member of the front bench team and in every other activity."
Mr Hughes, who at the last general election retained his seat with a 20,846 majority over the Conservatives, entered the House of Commons in 1983. He served as an opposition whip
from the following year until 1987, when he became a front bench spokesman on defence and disarmament and arms control, subjects on which he had a formidable knowledge.
Of Irish Catholic stock, Mr Hughes was born and brought up on Merseyside and attended local schools before going on to Liverpool and then Manchester University.
He worked as a personnel management trainee for Unilever at Port Sunlight, Merseyside, in 1969, and was a history teacher at Ruffwood Comprehensive School from 1970 until 1983.
Mr Hughes had joined the Labour party in Huyton, then Harold Wilson's constituency, in 1966, and after an unsuccessful attempt at taking Crosby in the general election of February 1974, he became
chairman of Huyton's constituency Labour party.
He was adopted as prospective candidate to succeed Harold Wilson in the seat in 1981, although boundary changes meant the area he inherited incorporated parts of both Huyton and Widnes.
Newly-eleced, Mr Hughes eloquently described his new patch, which contained vast council estates into which families from Liverpool's slums were being moved, as "monotonous labyrinths, grimly regimented and dehumanising". Its 25 per cent unemployment rate made him a forceful speaker on the subject in the House.
He met his wife Patricia during his teaching days, and the two married at St Aloysius' church, Huyton, in 1984. Their only child, Charlotte, was born in October 1988.
FORMER Catholic Herald contributor, Pat Murphy, has died in West Cork, Ireland, at the age of 93.
Mr Murphy, who wrote for the Herald in the 1950s when he was at the height of his Fleet Street career, worked for the now-closed Sunday Dispatch, and for the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.
A world-traveller, he frequently entertained those around him with his tales of his meetings with such world figures as Rasputin, Lloyd George and the Aga Khan.
A native Irishman, Mr Murphy retired to West Cork 30 years ago after his retirement, where he became a larger-thanlife character in the area, drawing visitors to visit him from around the globe.
During his eighties he wrote two books, and encouraged many other writers to visit West Cork and to chronicle the peace and beauty of the area he loved so much. There is little doubt that his endeavours helped put the region on the tourist map.