MO Asghar, Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales East, has died after being rushed to hospital yesterday - he was 74.

The death of Mr Asghar, who lived in Newport, has been described as a "devastating blow" by Paul Davies MS, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament.

"Our friend and colleague Mohammad Asghar has served the people of South Wales East in the Senedd with distinction for more than 13 years," he said.

“This news is a devastating blow to the Conservative Group in the Welsh Parliament.

“Our friend and colleague, Mohammad Asghar - known to many as ‘Oscar’ - has served the people of South Wales East in the Senedd with distinction for more than 13 years.

“Proud to be British and Welsh and proud of his roots, Oscar had friends from across the political spectrum, and made his mark on Welsh history as the first-ever BAME Member of the Senedd.

“I am sure that everyone will join me in sending condolences to his family ,especially his wife Firdaus and his daughter Natasha, both of whom he loved dearly, at their tragic time of loss.”

Mr Asghar's daughter Natasha posted a poignant tribute to her father on Twitter:

"Today by far has been the worst day of my life. I lost the first man I ever loved forever," she wrote.

" The man who taught me to walk, crack terrible jokes, do whatever I had to to achieve my goals & do anything for ones family. I cannot imagine life without you. I Love you."

Matthew Evans, leader of the Conservative Group on Newport City Council, said he is "deeply shocked and saddened" to hear of Mr Asghar's death.

In a tweet, he said: "I have known him for many years since he was a Councillor always had a smile and a positive outlook, deepest condolences to Firdaus, Natasha and family."

Chairman of the Welsh Conservatives, Lord Byron Davies of Gower, said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and former Senedd colleague, Mohammad Asghar who was affectionately known as Oscar.

"He was a valued and very active member of the Welsh Conservative family and my heartfelt condolences go to his wife Firdaus and daughter Natasha.”

Born in Peshawar, in what is now Pakistan, Mr Asghar earned a degree in political science at the city's university, subsequently moving to London and then Newport, where he settled after gaining his accountancy qualification.

In 2004, Mr Asghar became Wales’ first Muslim councillor, being elected to represent Newport's Victoria ward.

He was first elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2007, representing Plaid Cymru.

In late 2009 he became the first Assembly Member to cross the floor, joining the Conservatives, for whom he was re-elected in 2011 and 2016 for the South Wales East region.

He was the Shadow Minister for Skills, Further Education, Communities & Faith, and also a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Children and Young People Committee and a member of the All-Faith Committee.

Among many other offices, Mr Asghar has also served as governor of two Newport schools.

Mr Asghar has been a contirbutor to the South Wales Argus through his regular MS column, and only last weekend spoke to the newspaper about his experiences of racial prejudice.

He said the killing of Minneapolis man George Ford earlier this month by a white police officer "has triggered a movement that no one could have predicted".

He said the persecution of people of colour across the world had been "considered 'the norm'".

"In 2020, I would have expected and hoped the world had moved on," he said.

"It saddens me to say, this is not the case.

"Racism does exist, in places of work, places of worship, educational institutions and everyday life."