TRIBUTES have been paid to the former MP for South East Cornwall who has passed away aged 76.

Colin Breed was the Liberal Democrat MP for the area between 1997 and 2010, in a constituency which has otherwise returned Conservative candidates since its formation in 1983.

In a political career which began as a councillor at Saltash Town Council and Caradon District Council, Mr Breed successfully won the seat, succeeding MP Robert Hicks who retired prior to the 1997 general election, retaining the seat before stepping down in 2010.

His successor as Liberal Democrat candidate, Colin Martin, and the mayor of Liskeard have paid tribute to Mr Breed.

Colin Martin, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council, said: “Colin gave me my first job in politics, when I came to work for him in Liskeard in 2005. At that point he had been a Member of Parliament for eight years and it soon became clear to me that he embodied so many of the qualities that a good MP should have.

“He was kind and friendly to everyone. He never took himself too seriously, but he knew he had a serious job to do. He was observant, curious and thoughtful; so had developed a detailed understanding of the factors influencing everything from the price of a pint of milk to building a bypass.

“And as well as looking after South East Cornwall, he tried to foster a more peaceful world, voting against the war in Iraq and making many visits to the Middle-East to promote greater understanding between people of different religions.

“All of this was driven by a sense of humility and service, rooted in his faith: He didn’t see MPs as being above anyone else; all he wanted to do was to make the world a better place for others.

“And for thirteen years, that’s exactly what he did. Whether you knew him or not, everyone in South East Cornwall was helped in one way or another by Colin, and every day my own work is shaped by his example.

“The Liberal Democrat party in Cornwall will miss his wisdom, and Janet and the family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Cllr Simon Cassidy, the mayor of Liskeard joined in the tributes, adding: “It is with great sadness that we’ve heard about the passing of Colin Breed who was our local MP from 1997 to 2010. Elected to Caradon District Council and Saltash Town Council, he was twice Mayor of Saltash.

“He was elected MP for South East Cornwall in May 1997 Colin devoted much of his life to the service of the people of Southeast Cornwall and was a well loved and well respected local figure. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

• In the above story we suggested that the late Colin Breed defeated Robert Hicks to win the South East Cornwall seat. In fact, Mr Breed won the seat during the 1997 election following Mr Hicks’ retirement. The Cornish Times is happy to set the record straight.