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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 18:29 GMT
Obituary: Margaret Ewing MSP
Margaret Ewing
Margaret Ewing was widely respected across the political divide
Margaret Ewing, 60, was a passionate Nationalist and was widely respected across the political divide.

Born the daughter of a farmer in Lanarkshire, she was enticed into politics by her future mother-in-law, Winnie.

She went on to become the SNP's most senior MP, first entering Westminster in the 1970s, which were considered to be glory days for the party.

At that time, the SNP could boast almost a dozen MPs.

After attending Biggar High School, she went on to train as a teacher at Glasgow University.

Small majority

She taught for six years and having joined the SNP in 1966, won the East Dunbartonshire seat with a majority of just 22.

After later losing the seat, she went on to defeat the Tories in 1987 and took the Moray seat.

Mrs Ewing became the SNP's parliamentary leader at Westminster and ran for party leadership three years later but was defeated by Alex Salmond.

The Ewing family
The Moray MSP became a member of the Ewing dynasty

In 1999 she became MSP for Moray and left her Westminster seat in 2001 to concentrate her efforts on Holyrood.

She was a member of the parliament's Europe and external affairs committee and a long-standing member of the SNP's national executive.

She was also a member of the UK-Irish parliamentary assembly and Commonwealth parliamentary assembly.

Mrs Ewing was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 but returned to the Scottish Parliament later that year.

In the 2003 Holyrood election she was re-elected as MSP for Moray with a majority of 5,312 over the second-place Tories.

The following year, she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

Popular figure

Last August she announced that she was to retire from politics in 2007. She said she had long decided to quit when she reached retirement age.

As MP for Moray she was one of the original campaigners for extra winter heating payments and also fought on behalf of Scotland's whisky industry.

An unassuming and popular figure, she kept her distance from the doctrinal wars and faction-fighting and was well-liked by constituents and politicians from other parties.

Mrs Ewing was also an ardent campaigner for global aid and last March led a group of six MSPs to Malawi in an effort to help poor African communities.

In January, Mrs Ewing said: "When I demit office in 2007 I will have represented the people of Moray for 20 years - a huge honour and responsibility."

SNP veteran Margaret Ewing dies
21 Mar 06 |  Scotland
MSP Ewing to bow out of Holyrood
19 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Breast cancer MSP returns
05 Sep 02 |  Scotland
Breast cancer surgery for MSP
12 Apr 02 |  Scotland
SNP veteran Ewing to retire
22 Jul 01 |  Scotland

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