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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 08:14 GMT
Reid named top politician
George Reid
George Reid became presiding officer after the May election
Presiding Officer George Reid has been crowned Scotland's Politician of the Year.

The MSP for Ochil picked up the award at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

The judging panel praised the 64-year-old for his "skilful chairing of a sometimes fractious rainbow parliamentary chamber".

Mr Reid, who was nominated by readers of The Herald, beat Tory leader David McLetchie and First Minister Jack McConnell to the title.

He said he was "surprised, touched and deeply honoured" at receiving the award, sponsored by the newspaper and financial services group Zurich.

'Cathartic experience'

Mr Reid paid tribute to his personal staff and those working in the Scottish Parliament's corporate body and bureau.

Accepting the award, he said the Holyrood building project was one of the biggest issues faced by the parliament.

"The Fraser Inquiry will be a cleansing and cathartic experience," said Mr Reid.

"We must go through that and put it behind us, because then we have the challenge of a building which is genuinely world class, which is in a World Heritage site, and a building in which all members of the parliament must rise to the occasion.

Rosie Kane
Rosie Kane was named as one to watch
"They must rise to the occasion in their vision, in their debate and in their daring."

Mr Reid, who won the Ochil seat for the Scottish National Party at the May election, succeeded Sir David Steel as presiding officer.

Previous winners of the Politician of the Year award include former first minister Donald Dewar, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace, Mr McConnell and Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm.

Former foreign secretary Robin Cook took the Best Scot at Westminster title, while the SNP's Professor Sir Neil MacCormick was voted Euro MP of the Year.

Mr McLetchie did pick up an award, being voted Donald Dewar Debater of the Year for what judges described as his wit and humour at question time.

The seven Scottish Green MSPs won the Election Performance of the Year award for their party.

Free spirit

Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rose Kane took the honours in the One To Watch category.

Margo MacDonald picked up the Campaigner of the Year award and John Farquhar Munro, the Lib Dem MSP for Ross, Skye and Inverness West, was named Free Spirit of the Year.

He was described by the judges as "permanently unwhippable and unbiddable".

Holyrood's public petitions committee picked up the award for Committee Performance of the Year.

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