MICHAEL Spicer, Baron Spicer, who served the county in Parliament for over 30 years has died, aged 76.

Lord Spicer served as MP for the area between 1974 and 2010, and died on May 29 after suffering from Parkinson's and leukaemia.

His widow, Patricia Ann Hunter, paid tribute to the "amazing husband and wonderful father", saying he had remained involved in politics until his death.

A statement released on behalf of the family said: "Ann, the wife of Lord Michael Spicer and her family wish to announce that Michael died peacefully this morning in hospital after a long illness.

"They are sure that many will be sad to hear this news.

"They would be grateful for a few moments privacy whilst they take into account what has happened."

Lady Spicer said: "He has been the most amazing husband and a wonderful father and he has done a lot politically, as well as a lot of painting and art work as well."

Former Malvern Hills district councillors Roger Hall-Jones and Paul Tuthill both paid tribute to Lord Spicer.

Mr Hall-Jones said: "I remember when Michael was selected, I was chairman of the young Conservatives and had just been elected to the district council.

"Taking over from Gerald Nabarro was a hard act to follow and, though he did not have Gerald's moustache-twirling flamboyance but he was a very calm, dependable MP for the region.

"He was a keen supporter of the local Conservative Party for many years and would regularly support our meetings and events.

"I always had very pleasant dealings with him and it is very sad to hear this news."

Mr Tuthill said: "He worked extremely hard as MP for the region and had very strong views on the European Union, so it is a shame that he passed before we left, considering the hard work he put in with setting up the ERG."

His successor for West Worcestershire, Harriett Baldwin MP said: "I am terribly sorry to learn that Lord Michael Spicer has died.

"Michael was always so kind to me when I was the candidate on his patch for four years from 2006 to 2010.

"After I was elected I continued to solicit his wise counsel.

"He was always full of insights."

Worcester MP Robin Walker also paid tribute, saying: "It is very sad to hear this news, Michael Spicer was a kind man and always a friendly face in Westminster or Worcestershire."

Lord Spicer founded the Conservative Party's European Research Group (ERG) in 1993 as well as serving as chairman of the 1922 Committee from 2001 to 2010.

After studying economics at Cambridge, Lord Spicer worked for The Statist, the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times as a financial journalist.

He was elected to Parliament in 1974 as the MP for South Worcestershire, until boundary changes abolished the constituency and he moved across to West Worcestershire.

He served in various ministerial positions including deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and posts within the Department of Trade and Department for Transport.

He also fell foul of the expenses scandal when it emerged he had claimed over £5,000 for gardening work at his Worcestershire home.