Gordon McMaster, 37, had been MP for Paisley South for more than six years, but had recently been suffering from depression and his state of health had caused concern among Labour whips. Strathclyde Police said yesterday that Mr McMaster's body had been discovered at his in Johnstone at 10.15am. There appeared to be no suspicious circumstances.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to a colleague who had served in the Opposition Whips office and been a Labour frontbench spokesman on overseas aid. In a statement issued from Downing Street, Tony Blair said: "I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Gordon McMaster. Gordon was a well-liked and much respected Member of Parliament ... deeply committed to his constituents in Paisley South, serving them with dedication and distinction. Cherie and I send our deepest sympathy to his family and friends."
The son of a parks superintendent, Mr McMaster studied at the West of Scotland Agricultural College and became a horticulturalist. His death reduces Lab-our's Commons majority to 178 and means a by-election in Paisley South, which he held in May with a majority of 12,750.
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