Jeremy Corbyn leads tributes as 'kind and principled' Labour MP Paul Flynn dies at 84
Jeremy Corbyn has led tributes to Labour MP Paul Flynn after he died at the age of 84.
The veteran MP, who had represented Newport West in the Commons since 1987, announced in October that he would be standing down for health reasons.
In a statement released on Twitter on Sunday night, his local Labour association said: "It’s with great sadness that we let you know that our MP, Paul Flynn, has died today.
"Paul is a hero to many of us in the Newport Labour family and we mourn for his family’s loss.
"We would ask that the privacy of Paul’s family is respected at this difficult time."
Labour leader Mr Corbyn hailed his "good friend", who briefly stepped up to the Shadow Cabinet in 2016 following an exodus of Labour frontbenchers.
"I’m very sad at the passing of my good friend Paul Flynn," Mr Corbyn said. "He had such love for Newport, knowledge of radical South Wales history and a dry wit.
"He was an independent thinker who was a credit to the Labour Party. He will be greatly missed."
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the late MP had been a "giant of the Welsh Labour movement".
He said: "Today's news will be a source of great sadness to all those who knew him.
"He was one of the most effective communicators of his generation - inside the House of Commons and outside.
"But it was Paul's willingness to speak up for causes beyond the political mainstream which marked him out as a politician of real courage and integrity.
"I first met him more than 35 years ago, and it has been a privilege to have worked with him, in the run-up to the devolution era and beyond."
Labour MP for Cardiff Central Jo Stevens said Mr Flynn had been a "kind, principled, fascinating man who was devoted to his constituents and constituency."
The Newport West MP, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, was a longstanding champion of the use of medicinal cannabis.
Mr Flynn's 2016 stints as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales made him the oldest MP in more than a century to hold a Shadow Cabinet job.
He had also served on the Labour frontbench under Neil Kinnock, and was a longstanding member of Parliament's Public Administration Committee, where he frequently sparred with Conservative chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin.
His death will now prompt a by-election in Newport West, where he was re-elected by more than 5,600 votes at the 2017 election.