Scottish `bon viveur and raconteur' dies
Monday 20 February 1995
Sir Nicholas, who was 61 and had been ill for several years, died in hospital in Dunfermline near his home late on Saturday night.
He will be remembered as one of Britain's most colourful and irreverent politicians. MPs said yesterday that the House of Commons would be "a duller place" without him.
His death reduces to 10 the number of Tory MPs north of the border, the lowest-yet figure. Coming as it does after the resignation earlier this month of Allan Stewart, the Scottish Office minister, Sir Nicholas's loss is a severe blow to the Government. With a majority of 2,000 votes, the by-election in Perthcould prove humiliating. The Scottish National Party is well-placed to capture the seat.
Sir Nicholas QC entered Parliament in 1974. Distinctive in the tartan clothes he designed himself, he charmed and infuriated friends and opponents alike with his dry wit and plain speaking. He described himself as a "bon viveur and raconteur" who enjoyed "growling, prowling, scowling and owling".
Scotland's solicitor-general from 1979 to 1982, he scandalised the legal establishment when he described women as "tauntresses" who should not be granted anonymity in rape trials. He recently urged John Major to quit, describing him as a "softie" who was "more like a ventriloquist's dummy than a prime minister".
MPs paid tribute to him yesterday. Ian Lang, the Secretary of State for Scotland, praised him as a great parliamentarian. "Scotland is the poorer for his passing," he said. Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat MP, said he was "one of the most outstanding, if quixotic, legal and political talents of his generation."
George Robertson, Labour's Scottish spokesman, praised his "style which left a strong mark on Scottish politics". Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, said: "Above all, Nicky was an individualist...a very Scottish character. He will be remembered with a great deal of affection."
Sir Nicholas will be buried in the crypt at St Theriot's Chapel at Fordell Castle, where he and his wife, Lady Sam Fairbairn, lived. He had three daughters. A memorial service will be held in St John's Church in Perth.
Obituary, page 12
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
food + drink
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Scores injured after partial ceiling collapse at Apollo Theatre in London's West End
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA .NET Agile UNIX LIN...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET SQL Develop...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET SQL Developer (Software Developer, Softw...
£500 - £650 per day: Harrington Starr: Excellent opportunity for Murex Subject...