HOVE MP Peter Kyle has revealed he was close friends with one of the victims of the New Year’s Eve plane crash in Australia that claimed six lives.

Will Cousins and the rest of his family perished when a seaplane crashed into a river on the outskirts of Sydney on Sunday.

Now Labour MP Mr Kyle has paid tribute to 25-year-old Mr Cousins, describing him as “one of the best”.

The pair worked together at Open Britain, a campaign group opposed to a hard Brexit, in which Mr Cousins was head of press.

Mr Kyle revealed he had lunch with Mr Cousins just a few weeks ago.

He said: “I took him out for lunch just before Christmas to say thank you for all the support he’s given me and all the energy he’s put into the campaign because he’s the sort of person who really is an unsung hero.

“In the run-up to Christmas you really want to say thank you and let them know they’re appreciated but again over the lunch all he was talking about was the coming year, his ideas.

“He was great fun, very imaginative, very cheeky, and liked to really push the envelope.

“He had a fire in his belly and was a total pleasure to be around.”

Mr Cousins was killed on New Year’s Eve when the sightseeing seaplane crashed into Hawkesbury River on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia.

He died alongside four members of his family – his father, who was CEO of Compass group, brother, his father’s fiancée and her daughter.

Mr Kyle added: “We were on the phone very regularly, we were in text or phone touch every day, usually seven days a week.

“His job was sometimes to get hold of a very tired, worn out MP at the end of the week and try and get them on a train back to London to go on Sky News or Newsnight which is the last thing in world you want to do.

“When you have Will on the phone it was like you knew you were going to break his heart if you said no, so you always said yes.

“On a professional basis he will be hugely missed to me and I can only imagine how much people who knew him personally will miss him.”

Investigations have begun to determine the cause of the crash which also killed the pilot.