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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 11:06 GMT
SNP veteran Margaret Ewing dies
Margaret Ewing served Moray for almost 20 years
Margaret Ewing served Moray for almost 20 years
Tributes have been paid to Nationalist MSP Margaret Ewing who has died at the age of 60 after a long illness.

Mrs Ewing had represented the Moray area at Westminster and Holyrood for almost 20 years, but announced last year that she would stand down in 2007.

She was married to Fergus Ewing, the MSP for Inverness East and son of Nationalist stalwart Winnie.

In 2002, Mrs Ewing underwent treatment for breast cancer but returned to Holyrood later that year.

She was admitted to hospital with pneumonia in 2004.

An SNP spokesman said: "She had been suffering ill-health for some time."

Mrs Ewing was born in Lanark and trained as a teacher.

Party leadership

She joined the SNP in 1966 and entered parliament as MP for East Dunbartonshire in 1974.

She lost the seat five years later and, after failing to get into parliament in 1983 in Strathkelvin and Bearsden, she won the Moray seat from the Tories in 1987.

In 1999 she became MSP for Moray and stood down from her Westminster seat in 2001 to concentrate on Holyrood.

She will be missed across the political spectrum because Margaret was one of the few politicians without an enemy in the world
SNP leader
Alex Salmond

SNP leader Alex Salmond MP said Mrs Ewing was an "outstanding" member of parliament.

He said: "She will be missed across the political spectrum because Margaret was one of the few politicians without an enemy in the world.

"Her love for her beautiful constituency of Moray was well known and her constituents responded in full measure by electing her five times in succession and in 2003, by a record majority, despite a debilitating illness."

Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid, who as a young SNP MP shared an office with her at Westminster in the 1970s, said: "Margaret was a lovely person, well-respected in all parties by members at Holyrood and Westminster.

"Her commitment to Scotland over 32 years of public service was as outstanding as it was unstinting."

Sense of loss

First Minister Jack McConnell said: "For over 30 years Margaret Ewing has made a significant contribution, both on behalf of the constituents she represented and Scottish politics.

"Margaret was popular with members from all parties in the parliament and we will all miss her."

Deputy first minister and leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Nicol Stephen said: "I first got to know Margaret when we were colleagues in the House of Commons.

"She was one of the kindest and friendliest people in politics.

She was an able parliamentarian and a doughty advocate for the constituents whose interests she represented robustly and eloquently
Annabel Goldie
Scottish Conservative leader

"Margaret was a powerful campaigner for her constituents and will be sadly missed."

Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrats MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said he had worked with Mrs Ewing on several occasions.

He said: "I was saddened greatly to learn of Margaret's passing and extend my sincere condolences to Fergus and the entire family.

"Margaret and myself knew each other well and worked together throughout our period at Westminster - not least in pursuing North of Scotland interests.

"She was an easy politician to cooperate with, without ever compromising her fundamental principles.

"I shall miss her very much indeed."

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: "There is a very real sense of loss at the death of Margaret Ewing.

"She was an able parliamentarian and a doughty advocate for the constituents whose interests she represented robustly and eloquently."

Breast Cancer Care spokeswoman Sophie Howells said: "She will be remembered as a passionate campaigner to improve support for the 41,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year."

Tributes were also paid from local politicians.

Robert Burns, SNP councillor for New Elgin West, said: "I lost my wife Betty a month ago and Maggie came and spoke to me then."

Liz MacDonald, Highland councillor for Nairn Ninian, said: "I have nothing but respect for Maggie - she was a lovely woman. She was great MSP for Moray and a great ambassador for Scotland."

Eddie Coutts, Independent councillor and convener of Moray Council, said: "She stood steadfastly for the people of Moray."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch Margaret Ewing's contribution to politics



SEE ALSO:
Obituary: Margaret Ewing MSP
21 Mar 06 |  Scotland
MSP of passion who earned respect
21 Mar 06 |  Scotland
MSP Ewing to bow out of Holyrood
19 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Breast cancer MSP returns
05 Sep 02 |  Scotland


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