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Wednesday, 21 February, 2001, 16:57 GMT
Tributes to Lord Mackay
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish
Lord Mackay once served as social security minister
Leading political figures have paid tribute to former Conservative minister Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, who has died at the age of 62.

The former MP for Argyll and Bute suffered a heart attack on Wednesday.

He had recently been appointed as chairman of committees - in effect the deputy speaker in the House of Lords under Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine.

"All of John Mackay's many friends will be greatly shocked to learn of his death. John was a distinguished politician, having held senior positions in both government and opposition. In particular, I will always be grateful for the tremendous support and friendship which he gave to me when we served together as ministers in the Department of Social Security."

Conservative Party Leader William Hague

"John was a formidable campaigner and a great inspiration. He worked tirelessly for the party up and down the country. His love of electioneering was self-evident to anyone who campaigned with him and who struggled to keep up with him."

Scottish Conservative Party Chairman Raymond Robertson

"He and I were fishing companions in the days when we were each president of a university Liberal club - he in Glasgow and I in Edinburgh. He campaigned with me in my by-election and our friendship survived his change of politics. He was a distinguished minister at the Scottish Office and a formidable debater in the House of Lords. It is sad that he had only just taken up his new high office."

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Sir David Steel

"He served his party and his country with great commitment and dignity. It is particularly tragic that he had only just risen to one of the highest offices in the House of Lords. I spoke with him only last week and found him a very pleasant and convivial companion."

Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell

"He was a great servant to Scotland throughout his time in public life and was respected on all sides of the political divide, both as a minister and in the Lords. John Mackay will be remembered as a product of the same great seam of talent to come out of Glasgow University which included John Smith and Donald Dewar. He remained a good friend of Donald's until his own death last year and I remember the dignity with which he fulfilled his role at Donald's funeral."

Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish

"Yet again Scottish politics prematurely loses one of its most senior figures. Whilst John and I often disagreed on many issues, I always recognised the strength of his convictions."

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Jim Wallace

"John Mackay was an extremely talented politician who cut his teeth in the debating chamber at Glasgow University at the same time as John Smith and Donald Dewar. He found his natural home in the House of Lords, where he was much respected and one of the most articulate supporters of the Tory cause."

Menzies Campbell, Lib Dem MP for North East Fife

"Lord Mackay was an effective parliamentarian who was able to use the generally placid environment of the House of Lords to maximum political advantage. He demonstrated in the House of Lords a much more effective opposition stance than was demonstrated by the Conservatives in the House of Commons. "I extend my deepest sympathies from the SNP to Lord Mackay's family."

Scottish National Party Leader John Swinney

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21 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Former Tory minister dies
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