TRIBUTES have been paid to the Wee County's longest serving MP after has passed away at the age of 75.

Lord Martin O'Neill of Clackmannan died peacefully at Western General Hospital on Thursday, August 27.

He was a loving husband of Elaine, proud dad of Michael and Peter and an adoring granddad of Annabel, Lucy and Alexander.

Lord O'Neill was first elected to represent Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire in 1979.

He held the seat for Labour until 2005, when he was made a life peer and entered the House of Lords as Baron O'Neill of Clackmannan.

Gordon Banks, former MP and successor to Lord O'Neill, spoke of the legacy the politician built over the decades.

He said: "I am very proud to have known Martin for many many years and the news of his passing is indeed very sad.

"Obviously my thoughts are with Elaine, Michael, Peter and their families at this very difficult time.

"He was always extremely supportive and available for advice and guidance during my time in office which of course was hugely appreciated.

"Martin was a very determined and humorous person which obviously are attributes that serve any politician well.

"His constituents were also very supportive of Martin as can be seen by his unrivalled time in office in our area.

"This is an achievement which should not be taken lightly."

Indeed, Lord O'Neill won five General Elections in a row during a lengthy political career.

His years in office saw him serve as shadow defence secretary and later as chairperson of the Trade and Industry Select Committee.

Outside of politics, he was an ardent supporter of Hibernian Football Club and served as a director for a number of years.

He also chaired the Strategic Forum of Construction and the Nuclear Industry Association.

Mr Banks added: "His service to our area was huge, his commitment to the Labour Party was unstinting and his knowledge in areas of trade and industry was significant.

"He will be sadly missed by all who knew him but will also be remembered as a strong, determined and committed politician who served our area well in parliament for over 40 years."

Dr Richard Simpson, former MSP and a colleague of Lord O'Neill, said: "His success was in no small measure due to his wife Elaine.

"As Ochil's first MSP in the new Scottish Parliament, I was lucky enough to share an office and staff with Martin; his counsel was invaluable."

Craig Miller, secretary at the Clackmannanshire Constituency Labour Party, also offered his condolences to Lord O'Neill's family on behalf of the Wee County group.

He added: "He was always supportive, generous and encouraging to all our politicians, activists and supporters.

"He spent his whole life fighting for social justice and equality.

"His contribution over many decades cannot be underestimated.

"He is an enormous loss to our party, but he will remembered fondly for his tireless work in trying to create a fairer and more equal country."