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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Holyrood honours Queen Mother
Scottish Parliament chamber
MSPs held a minute's silence
Scotland's political leaders have paid tribute to the Queen Mother in the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Jack McConnell led the tributes at a special sitting held to mark her passing.

Mr McConnell told MSPs: "She had Scotland in her heart, and Scots everywhere will retain a place in their hearts for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

"For her life of dedication to duty, her service to others and for the way she loved life itself, we today give thanks."

It is the first time that the parliament has been recalled during a recess since the death of Donald Dewar, the former first minister.

The Queen Mother as a young woman
The death of the Queen Mother was met with sadness by Scotland's political leaders

  Politicians unite in sorrow

The House of Commons and House of Lords were also recalled from their Easter break on Wednesday so MPs and peers could pay their tributes to the Queen Mother.

The Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Sir David Steel, who had returned from holiday in France, began the special sitting with an address.

He described the Queen Mother as a "great daughter of Scotland".

His opening remarks were followed by a minute's silence.

The session was short, formal and sombre.

Many of the MSPs wore black or dark colours in a mark of respect.

It is thought that 46 MSPs did not attend the sitting.

No formal count was taken as there was no vote, but parliament officials estimated that 83 of the parliament's 129 MSPs were present, as well as the two law officers.

Church leaders

Two MSPs known to have republican views, Tommy Sheridan of the Scottish Socialist Party and Roseanna Cunningham of the Scottish National Party, were not there.

Also not present was independent MSP Dennis Canavan.

Church leaders and civic representatives from Scotland's main cities were there, along with several overseas consorts.

The public gallery, which has room for about 400, was about a quarter full.

Mr McConnell told MSPs: "We meet during a period of national mourning but this special meeting of Scotland's Parliament should also be a celebration on the life of a remarkable woman, because she herself celebrated life in so many ways."

The Parliament expresses its deep regret and sadness at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, conveys its sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family in their sad bereavement, affirms the great affection and esteem in which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was held, and expresses gratitude for her life of outstanding public service and her long and close association with Scotland and the Scottish people

Scottish Parliament motion of condolence

SNP Leader John Swinney said the Queen Mother had lived a full life which was "closely associated with Scotland".

The MSP for North Tayside said: "Her family had deep and profound links with the village of Glamis and its Castle, in the constituency I have the privilege to represent in this parliament.

He praised a "life devoted to public service and a life inspired by many of the endearing strengths of Scotland today".

Scottish Tory Leader David McLetchie said the Queen Mother would be remembered as "one of the greatest and most loved Scots of all time".

He said her family, the Bowes-Lyons, could claim descent from Robert the Bruce, something which explained her remarkable strength of character.

Mr McLetchie said she was "proud of her roots" and showed her love of Scotland through her regular holidays at Balmoral and her enjoyment of the Scottish countryside.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Jim Wallace, said the death of the Queen Mother was a "national loss" which was keenly felt in Scotland where she had her roots.

"She had a natural affinity with Scotland and in return enjoyed the great affection of the people of Scotland."

Political editor Brian Taylor
"The first minister introduced the formal motion of condolence"

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See also:

03 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Parliament returns for royal tributes
01 Apr 02 | Scotland
Scotland pays its tributes
03 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Parliament returns for royal tributes
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