Ashok Kumar (British politician)

Ashok Kumar FIChemE (28 May 1956 – 15 March 2010)[1] was a British Labour politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland from 1997 until his death shortly before the 2010 general election.

Ashok Kumar

Member of Parliament
for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
In office
1 May 1997  15 March 2010
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byTom Blenkinsop
Member of Parliament
for Langbaurgh
In office
7 November 1991  16 March 1992
Preceded byRichard Holt
Succeeded byMichael Walton Bates
Personal details
Born(1956-05-28)28 May 1956
Uttar Pradesh, India
Died15 March 2010(2010-03-15) (aged 53)
Marton, Middlesbrough, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materAston University
ProfessionChemical engineering

Early life

Kumar was born in Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh, India,[2] to Jagat Ram Saini and Santosh Kumari, who emigrated to Derby when Kumar was twelve years of age. He attended Rykneld Secondary Modern School in Derby and left aged 15 to study for O-levels at Wilmorton College, before attending Derby & District College of Art & Technology for his A-Levels. He then studied chemical engineering at Aston University in Birmingham where he was awarded a BSc in 1978, and an MSc in Process Analysis and Control Theory in 1980, and a PhD in Fluid Mechanics in 1982. The thesis title was Velocity distributions in a plate heat exchanger. He was a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Energy Institute. Kumar was a Research Fellow at Imperial College London (1982–5) and worked as a research scientist for British Steel Corporation in Middlesbrough from 1985 to 1997.

Political career

He began his political career as a local councillor for Middlesbrough Borough Council (1987–97). He became the MP for Langbaurgh at the 1991 Langbaurgh by-election, but lost the seat to the Conservative candidate in the 1992 election. He won Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland at the 1997 election, and held it until his death in 2010.[3][4]

He was a Member of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee; Vice-Chair of Parliamentary Group for Energy Studies; Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST); and Chair of Northern Group of Labour MPs.

In June 2010 IChemE (the Institution of Chemical Engineers) and NEPIC (the Northeast of England Process Industry Cluster) launched the Ashok Kumar fellowship at POST in memory of Kumar. The annual fellowship will see the successful candidate spend three months at the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST).[5] By 2017 the 6th Ashok Kumar Fellow had been appointed to work with POST she was a postgraduate engineering student, Erin Johnson, from Imperial College, London.[6]

Ashok Kumar MP was a supporter of industrial engagement and the concepts of economic clusters.[7] He regularly chaired the NEPIC MP/Industry meetings and contributed to the growth and innovation agenda of the Cluster. Tributes for his work came after his untimely death.[8]

Personal life

Ashok Kumar was a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.[3] Of Hindu and Sikh descent,[9] he described himself as a lifelong "liberal humanist".[10][11] Aston University gave him an honorary degree in July 1997.

Kumar never married. He lived in Marton, Middlesbrough.[12]


Kumar was found dead by police in his constituency home in Canberra Road,[13] Marton, on 15 March 2010. Police announced that he had died from natural causes.[3][14]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-03-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Telegraph obituary". London: 16 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  3. ""Tributes paid to Labour MP Ashok Kumar", BBC News, 15 March 2010". BBC News. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  4. "'Devastating loss for his constituents' (From The Northern Echo)". 16 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  5. "IChemE and NEPIC launch Ashok Kumar fellowship". IChemE. 5 July 2010. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  6. Panagopulos, Michael (26 January 2017). "Chemical Engineering PhD student awarded Fellowship in UK Parliament". Imperial College London. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  7. Short, Patricia L (January 2006). "Making one out many in England". Chemical & Engineering News. 84 (5): 25–28. doi:10.1021/cen-v084n005.p025.
  8. Tributes from NEPIC
  9. "Ashok Kumar". The Daily Telegraph. London. 16 March 2010.
  10. Hansard, HC Deb 10 Jan 2002 c349
  11., Ashok Kumar found dead at home, 2010-03-15. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  12. Julia Langdon (15 March 2010). "obituary". London: Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 April 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  13. "MP Ashok Kumar found dead: Investigation launched". 15 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  14. "Labour MP Ashok Kumar died of natural causes". BBC News. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.