TRIBUTES poured in for Leo Abse who died peacefully at Charing Cross Hospital in London yesterday.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan, said: “It is very rare for one MP to have been involved in so many major pieces of social legislation in relation to homosexuality, divorce and abortion, which have had a huge impact on the whole of British society.

“His passing is a huge loss to politics and public life in Wales and he will be fondly remembered in Torfaen, in Cardiff and throughout Britain.”

Torfaen council leader, Bob Wellington, said: "Leo Abse was small in stature but he was an intellectual giant. He will be sorely missed and can rightly be termed Britain's top reformer of the century."

A spokeswoman from Leo Abse and Cohen, the Cardiff based solicitors firm Mr Abse established in 1951, said: “The partners and everyone at Leo Abse and Cohen are deeply saddened by the news.

“His contribution was immense, not only to us as a firm but also to the wider legal world in Wales and beyond, both as an accomplished lawyer, and in his role as a respected and groundbreaking law maker."

Mr Abse’s funeral will take place at St Gabriel's Church, Clomendy Road, in Cwmbran with the service conducted by Rev Michael Phillips and Rabbi Dr Sidney Brichto followed by cremation at Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog. The date and time is yet to be set.

Abse's life and times

  • Born in Cardiff, in 1917.
  • Served in the RAF during the second world war, before returning to Britain and qualifying as a solicitor.
  • Founded Leo Abse and Cohen, in 1951. it is now one of Cardiff's biggest solicitor firms, with offices in Newport and Swansea.
  • Became MP for Pontypool in 1958, and Torfaen MP in 1983
  • Retired in 1987