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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Vigil at Dewar bedside
Marion and Ian Dewar
Marion and Ian Dewar are now at their father's bedside
Scotland's First Minister Donald Dewar remains unconscious and "critically ill" on a life support machine in hospital after suffering internal bleeding following a fall.

The Labour politician's condition had rapidly deteriorated after he slipped and fell outside his official residence in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

His son Ian, who lives in London, was at his side and his daughter Marion travelled to Edinburgh from Brussels.

She flew to Edinburgh on Wednesday morning where she was met by Ian who had spent the night at the capital's Western General Hospital, where Mr Dewar is in intensive care.

Looking pale and worried, the pair made no comment as they entered the hospital.

The Scottish Executive said there would be no further statements on Mr Dewar's condition until his family had been consulted and a decision made regarding further treatment.

Donald Dewar
Mr Dewar returned to work soon after heart surgery
However, executive ministers were holding an emergency session on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation.

Mr Dewar's official duties will be performed by the Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the Edinburgh Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition administration.

Mr Dewar's spokesman, David Whitton, said Prime Minister Tony Blair had been in touch by telephone and that he was being kept informed of Mr Dewar's condition.

"It won't surprise you to learn that Mr Dewar has many friends in the cabinet, many of whom have been on the phone to find out how he is," said Mr Whitton.

Political allies and opponents alike have sent good wishes and messages of support to Mr Dewar, MP and MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, and his family.

Mr Whitton added: "There was an informal meeting of Mr Dewar's Cabinet colleagues - very much a gathering of friends who wanted to get together to talk over the situation."

David Whitton
David Whitton: Mr Blair is being kept informed
The first minister was able to carry out a lunchtime engagement on Tuesday, but three hours after his fall, he felt unwell.

The drama began at around 1215BST on Tuesday when Mr Dewar, the morning's Scottish cabinet business completed, was leaving Bute House, his official residence, to go by car to the main Scottish Executive ministerial offices at St Andrews' House, about a mile away.

As he left Bute House he slipped on a sloping area of pavement, suffering a slight graze on the side of his left wrist.

Mr Whitton, said: "Like anyone else who falls over, you are embarrassed that you have fallen over.

"He picked himself up, put himself into the front of the car, and went to St Andrews' House."

He was seen by Colin Currie, who is medically qualified and a special adviser to Health Minister Susan Deacon.

Edinburgh's Western General Hospital
Mr Dewar is being treated at the Western General
Despite Mr Dewar's insistence that he would be all right, he was taken to hospital in a rapid response vehicle.

He was transferred to the neuro science centre of Edinburgh Western General Infirmary after a brain scan at the city's Royal Infirmary showed bleeding inside his head.

The accident happened less than two months after Mr Dewar, 63, returned to work following major heart surgery.

It was thought the medication he was taking to thin his blood since the operation may have contributed to the effects of the fall on Tuesday.

Visitors to the hospital have included the Right Reverend Andrew McLellan, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

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See also:

11 Oct 00 | Scotland
Concern for 'father figure' Dewar
10 Oct 00 | Scotland
Dewar on life support machine
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