FORMER Conservative MP for Halesowen and Stourbridge Warren Hawksley has passed away.

Mr Hawksley, who represented the Black Country constituency from 1992 to 1997, died peacefully in Fougères, Brittany, France, on March 9 - just a day short of his 75th birthday.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood paid tribute to the former politician - describing him as a man of strong principle who was “always willing to say what he thought to be the right thing”.

Mr Wood said as a young Tory he joined the stalwart politician on the campaign trail back in 1992 and 1997 and even introduced him to the chairman of Aberystwyth Conservative Association, Kathie Lloyd, who went on to become Mr Hawksley’s second wife.

Mr Wood added: “I knew him well and so saw a slightly different side of him. He could be a very warm and a kind man, very generous with his time.”

Halesowen News:

After being defeated twice by Labour’s Renee Short in Wolverhampton North East in February and October of 1974, Oswestry-born Mr Hawksley was first elected to Parliament as MP for Wrekin from 1979 to 1987.

He was later elected to serve in Halesowen and Stourbridge after long-serving Sir John Stokes stepped down.

The constituency later became just Stourbridge but Mr Hawksley lost out to Labour’s Debra Shipley in 1997 as the political tide turned and the Labour Party enjoyed a national landslide General Election victory, led by Tony Blair.

After politics, Mr Hawksley became director of Staffordshire based national substance abuse charity Re-Solv before retiring to France.

Mr Hawksley is survived by his wife Kathie and two daughters Charlotte and Emma, who said: "We love and miss him so much. We're so proud of his political achievements - first in the Wrekin, then secondly in Stourbridge and Halesowen."

Current Stourbridge Conservative MP Margot James said: “I did not have the pleasure of meeting Warren Hawksley but I know he served the people of Stourbridge and Halesowen faithfully between 1992 and 1997. 

"I was very sorry to learn of his death and I send my condolences and appreciation of his service to his family and friends.”

His funeral was due to take place today (Thursday).