Tributes have been paid to a former Southend councillor, solicitor and Essex MP.

Former Labour councillor Alan Hurst died aged 77 on Tuesday.

He was deputy leader of Southend Council and was leader of the Southend Labour Party in the Ninties.

He represented Braintree as MP in north Essex from 1997 to 2005, having been first elected during the Labour landslide under Tony Blair.

Mr Hurst lost his MP seat when Labour won the 2005 general election with a reduced majority

Countless dignitaries, MPs and community figures have paid tribute to him including James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary and current MP for Braintree.

He was also a solicitor with firm Law Hurst and Taylor based in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff. 

Aston Line Labour councillor for Westborough said: "I am truly saddened to learn of the passing of Alan Hurst earlier today.

"Alan was best known for serving as Labour's Member of Parliament for Braintree between 1997 and 2005, but earlier in his career Alan was the Leader of the Labour Party on Southend Council - he contributed a great deal to our town.

"When I ran for Parliament in 2019, Alan was thoroughly impressed with our campaign and flattering in his compliments. It is a shame that he did not have the opportunity to witness Southend finally deliver its first Labour MP."

"My thoughts are with Alan's friends and loved ones at this difficult time."