FORMER Conservative frontbencher Peter Ainsworth has died, aged 64.
Tory colleagues paid tribute to the 'kind' and 'funny' politician, who served as shadow culture and environment secretary.
Mr Ainsworth was first elected to Parliament in 1992 as MP for East Surrey.
The father-of-three retired from politics after the 2010 election.
He went on to become chairman of the Big Lottery fund between 2011 and 2019.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "It is with deep sadness that I learned today of Peter’s death. He was unfailingly kind, charming and a committed public servant."
Tory peer Zac Goldsmith said:"I’m so sad to hear about Peter Ainsworth. He was a committed environmentalist, going back years, and was an inspiration for me personally."
Former minister for universities and science Sam Gyimah added: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Peter Ainsworth, my predecessor as MP for East Surrey.
"Peter was charming, witty, thoughtful and principled. A committed environmentalist, passionate about the Arts and was in politics for the right reasons. Thinking of his adorable family."
A spokesman for the National Lottery said: "Peter was a passionate advocate for the environment and for communities all across the UK.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
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