MEMBERS of the Senedd paid tribute today (Wednesday) to their colleague Mohammad Asghar, who died suddenly on Tuesday aged 74.

They began today's Welsh Parliament session with a minute’s silence, followed by personal recollections and tributes to the Conservative member of the Senedd (MS) for South Wales East.

Paul Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said Mr Asghar was “a man of immense warmth and kindness…who embraced us all with such profound respect”.

He added: “Oscar’s sad and sudden passing yesterday will leave an emptiness in all who knew him.”

READ MORE: Newport's Mohammad Asghar MS has died aged 74

Today, Mr Davies was one of many Senedd members to highlight Mr Asghar’s friendliness and respect for colleagues across the political spectrum.

“He was a rare thing in politics – someone who spoke no ill of others, who was not capable of hate, who saw in other politicians of all parties a shared commitment to achieve for their communities and their constituencies,” he said.

Those thoughts were echoed by first minister Mark Drakeford, who said Mr Asghar combined “the personal and the political in a way that was unique to him, and that will be uniquely missed”; and Plaid leader Adam Price, who said Mr Asghar was “generous and genial” and “a people person”.

South Wales Argus: A memorial image to Mohammad Asghar MS, which was broadcast during today's Senedd plenary session. Picture: Welsh Government/Senedd TVA memorial image to Mohammad Asghar MS, which was broadcast during today's Senedd plenary session. Picture: Welsh Government/Senedd TV

Former Newport councillor Mr Asghar was also praised for his work with communities of diverse faiths and ethnicities – born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) in British-ruled India in 1945, he witnessed the effects of partition on his homeland. After moving to the UK, he settled in Newport as an accountant. In 2004, he was the first Muslim to become a councillor in Wales.

Mr Drakeford remembered Mr Asghar’s “indefatigable attendance at events to mark and celebrate the contribution of minority communities in Wales”, adding: “He was there to demonstrate that someone who had arrived in Wales from a different continent had been able to make a successful life here.”

Conservative colleague Nick Ramsay said Mr Asghar was “a proud British Muslim who loved and respected all faiths, and they respected him”.

Several Gwent-based Labour members of the Senedd also paid their respects. Jayne Bryant said Mr Asghar had been “always friendly and respectful”, John Griffiths said Mr Aghar was “a real character”, and Alun Davies said “Oscar understood the humanity of politics”.

South Wales Argus:

Fellow South Wales East representatives also paid tribute. Delyth Jewell (Plaid) said Mr Asghar served “with dedication”, and Mark Reckless (Brexit Party) said Mr Asghar “stood for country, community, and constituents”.

Members of the Senedd also remembered Mr Asghar’s jovial nature, his love for cricket, and some lesser-known stories – including his pilot’s licence and his role in carrying the Olympic torch in 1964.

Before the Senedd observed the minute’s silence, Llywydd (presiding officer) Elin Jones said she was “deeply saddened by the loss of such a great character who always brought life to Senedd proceedings with his heartfelt contributions”.

Gwent’s Westminster politicians also shared messages of condolence.

Tory MP David Davies said: “The Conservative Party in Wales has just lost a stalwart local campaigner and a larger than life character.”

Jessica Morden, Ruth Jones, and Nick Thomas-Symonds were among other Gwent MPs to express their sympathies to Mr Asghar’s family.

Their tributes followed earlier messages from Gwent Police chief constable Pam Kelly, who said Mr Asghar was “a true friend of policing and will be very much missed”; and Torfaen MS Lynne Neagle, who said her Senedd colleague’s “kindness, warmth and good humour will be very much missed”.