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Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

UK Politics

SNP deputy leader dies

The deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, Dr Allan Macartney, has died after a heart attack.

The SNP said Dr Macartney had died "suddenly and without warning" on Tuesday morning.

He leave his wife Anne, three children and four grandchildren.

Dr Macartney, 57, had been the Euro-MP for North East Scotland since 1994.

On Sunday, he had been unanimously re-selected as the prospective SNP candidate for next year's European Parliament elections.

He had recently been working on a selection system for the SNP to choose its candidates to the Scottish Parliament.

Advice and humour much valued

The SNP's leader, Alex Salmond, said he had greatly valued Dr Macartney's "wise advice and gentle humour".

He said the death was a "great loss to his party and his country".

Mr Salmond announced that the SNP would be suspending its summer campaign until after the funeral.

However, candidate selection for the Scottish Parliament and European Parliament elections would continue, he said.

'A thoroughly decent man'

SNP president and Euro-MP Dr Winnie Ewing said Dr Macartney's loss was a "shocking personal blow".

She said: "Allan was a valued friend and colleague ... he commanded enormous respect in the European Parliament for his commitment, knowledge and dedication to the cause of Scotland."

Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar said he was very sorry to hear of Dr Macartney's unexpected death.

"He was a thoroughly decent man who earned respect well beyond the ranks of his own party and always put his political arguments in a reasoned and civilized fashion," Mr Dewar said.

A man of many talents

Dr Macartney was born in Accra in Ghana. He went to school in Scotland and then to university there and in Germany.

He taught in various African countries for 10 years before returning to Scotland in 1975 to take up a post as a social sciences tutor with the Open University.

Dr Macartney was also a freelance journalist and author, and a former president of the United Nations Association in Edinburgh.

A kirk elder, he was fluent in several languages.

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