Obituary: Donald Stewart

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The Independent Online
Donald James Stewart, politician, born Stornoway 17 October 1920, Provost of Stornoway 1958-64, 1968-70, Hon Sheriff 1960, MP (SNP) Western Isles 1970-87, leader Parliamentary SNP 1974-87, PC 1977, President SNP 1982-87, married 1955 Christina Macaulay, died Stornoway 23 August 1992.

DONALD STEWART was one of the great men of modern Scottish politics.

A lifelong nationalist, he joined the Scottish National Party at the age of 15. He was elected to Stornoway Town Council in 1951 and served three times as Provost before entering Parliament in 1970 as the first SNP Member of Parliament elected at a General Election.

Very much part of his local community, Stewart served for many years as a magistrate on the local court and as a member of the Stornoway Trust and the Pier and Harbour Commission.

During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy on North Atlantic convoy duty before returning to Stornoway to work as manager of the local Harris Tweed factory. His employment and his local-government duties took him on journeys throughout the Western Isles and built up the great affection and esteem in which he is held by all who met him.

As MP for the Western Isles for 17 years, Donald Stewart, whether alone or as a part of larger SNP Parliamentary groups, asserted his profound belief in Scottish independence in a manner which left no one in any doubt and which also created lasting friendships.

He was leader of the Scottish National Party Parliamentary Group from 1974 until his retirement in 1987 and was appointed as a Privy Councillor as well as being elected President of the Scottish National Party from 1982 to 1987. In his public life he evinced modesty, honesty and trustworthiness - qualities almost unique in a modern politician. He was a shrewd man, of integrity and common sense, a quiet, durable individual endowed with an unshakeable belief in Scotland's future as an independent nation, and a great ambassador for the Western Isles and Scotland.