As someone who has known Alan Keen for most of my political life, news of his passing earlier this week left me feeling deeply sad. Like many, my thoughts have been with his family including my former MP Ann Keen and his son David and family.
When MPs pass away, many tributes relate to what they were best known for in Parliament. But sometimes the differences that MPs make are far more personal. At particular moments in my early political life, Alan was key in helping me navigate my next steps. Discussions over coffee would be full of advice about how to build relationships in politics, how dynamics worked, and why listening to people was so important. Many of those things characterised Alan for me. He was held in high regard across Hounslow's minority communities too - an MP who knew how to build bridges and be a support in the community and in Parliament.
The first major election I was an activist in as a young student member was the 1992 election that saw Alan win his seat. It is amazing to think that it is nearly 20 years ago. Alan's passing is a real loss to Hounslow, and that sense of loss felt across the board is a tribute to him.
Commentary and opinion on national and regional politics by Seema Malhotra