Scottish Parliament pays its respects to Dewar

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Donald Dewar, the late First Minister, was praised as a "towering figure" of Scottish politics yesterday when the nation's Parliament met in special session to mark his death.

Donald Dewar, the late First Minister, was praised as a "towering figure" of Scottish politics yesterday when the nation's Parliament met in special session to mark his death.

All 129 MSPs attended the half-hour sitting in Edinburgh, called during the autumn recess, to pay tribute to the man described as "the father of the Parliament". The MSPs, dressed in black, stood for a minute's silence before the Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, addressed the packed public and VIP galleries.

Guests included the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, and Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill, widow of the former Labour leader John Smith. Also in the gallery was Mr Dewar's loyal spokesman, David Whitton, who broke the news of the First Minister's death on Wednesday.

Sir David said that Mr Dewar was a man of "decency, integrity, trust, dignity, scholar, service, commitment. Donald elevated the profession of politician," he said.

Jim Wallace, the Acting First Minister and leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, told MSPs: "Donald Dewar was a man who showed through a lifetime of tireless political service that our profession of politics can indeed be a noble calling."

John Swinney, leader of the Scottish National Party, spoke of the legacy of Mr Dewar. "A man who changed a nation and changed it for the better - what greater tribute can there be?" he said. "Donald Dewar never saw the Scottish Parliament as an end to itself, but as the means to transform the lives of the people of our country, and I salute him for that today."

Henry McLeish, Scotland's Enterprise Minister and Mr Dewar's likely successor as the Scottish Labour leader, said: "Today this Parliament gathers united in grief, and on these Labour benches we mourn for one of our own. In an age of cynicism about politicians, to the people of Scotland Donald was never one of them. He was always one of us."

Comments