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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Canon takes political side
Wright, Kennedy and Wallace
Cannon Wright (centre) with Charles Kennedy and Jim Wallace
One of the founding fathers of the Scottish Parliament, Canon Kenyon Wright, has joined the Liberal Democrats.

He was a leading member of the Constitutional Convention, which was central to the devolution process, but was not a member of a political party.

The canon said he had been impressed by the Liberal Democrats' policies.

His recruitment to the Lib Dems was announced at an Edinburgh news conference with Scottish party leader Jim Wallace.

But he caused some embarassment for his new party when he admitted he would rather it had stayed out of the coalition with Labour, and would prefer if it did so at the next election.

"In all the major areas of policy, I find myself comfortable with the Liberal Democrat view," he said.

The Mound
The constitution campaigned for a Scottish Parliament
"On Europe, on health and education, on social ambition, on human rights, on asylum seekers and refugees - and for me, above all on constitutional change and the vital need for a new kind of politics - the Liberal Democrat view is my view.

"The Scottish Liberal Democrats punched well above their weight in the Constitutional Convention.

"My decision to join now, after many years of quite deliberate political non-alignment, is due to my growing conviction about the prospects for Scotland."

He said he thought the party was the most likely to make Scotland's new democratic model work effectively.

Canon Wright was a founding member of the cross-party Scottish Constititutional Convention, which was set up 11 years ago to press for devolution.

The convention saw its main role as negotiating with the then Conservative government on devolution for Scotland.

Claim of Right

But it was not until Labour's General Election victory in 1997 that the ambition could be realised and Scotland later voted for a new parliament in a referendum.

In the days before the parliament was officially opened - almost exactly a year ago - the churchman played a key role.

He handed the Claim of Right, declaring ambitions for Scottish devolution, to presiding officer Sir David Steel.

Mr Wallace said: "The existence of the Scottish Parliament is in no small measure due to the hard work of Canon Wright.

"He will be a valuable member of the party with much to contribute."

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11 Sep 99 | Scotland
Canon's warning shot at parliament
09 Jul 99 | Scottish Parliament opening
Scotland passes new political milestone
02 Jun 00 | Scotland
Kirk backs parliament
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