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
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...