Obituary: Dr Robert McIntyre
Wednesday 04 February 1998
Dr Robert McIntyre is regarded as the father of the SNP. He had the distinction of being the Scottish National Party's first MP and remained for the next 50 years the friend and mentor of its members and leadership.
Towards the end of the Second World War, in April 1945, he won Motherwell at a by- election and held it until the General Election that July; he packed many speeches into his three months at Westminster; those on education and Scotland ring as true today as then.
He took the straightforward view, shared nowadays by more and more voters, that it is absurd for Scotland to be ruled from England, and he welcomed Scotland's entry to the European Union as a full member like Belgium, Ireland, Finland, and other small countries.
The press at the time (never a friend of the SNP) accused him wrongly of refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. In fact, he could not find the requisite two sponsors. So he walked down to the Speaker's chair alone. The Speaker refused to recognise him. This episode reflected badly on the House of Commons and two sponsors did emerge.
A son of the Manse, McIntyre qualifed as a doctor at Edinburgh University and specialised in chest complaints. He went on to be consultant chest physician for Stirlingshire and Clackmannan from 1951 to 1979. As so often happens, he died of his own speciality.
During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s he built up the party throughout Scotland, standing as a parliamentary candidate in ery general election from 1945 to 1974 and in a by-election in 1971 - 13 times. He also encouraged activists to stand as candidates. I was one of them. My first political speech was given in his constituency in his presence, and this led to my name being put forward for the by-election at Hamilton in November 1967. He was always willing to give me advice on all political matters, particularly as to how to cope as a lone SNP MP with benchfuls of Labour MPs from Scotland whose behaviour I found despicable.
The SNP now contest every Westminster seat. But it was not always the case. I remember how movingly McIntyre spoke at a meeting in a room in Stirling packed with SNP candidates. "Once I had to use all the arts of persuasion to find one man or one woman to stand so that I would not be our only candidate. Now when I look around this room, for the first time I know in my heart we shall win Scotland free." Punch once carried a cartoon of him brandishing a sword with the caption, "McIntirely Alone".
McIntyre had an intense love of sailing. He was known to all in the Scottish National Party as "Doc Mac", and admired by us and by thousands of Scots for his dour struggle for our independence through all the wilderness years.
- Winifred M. Ewing
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Case turns into a bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
- 5 Livr: A social network only for drunk people
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...