Tributes paid to ‘pioneer and patriot’ Winnie Ewing

Tributes have been paid to long-serving and hugely influential politician Winnie Ewing.

Mrs Ewing, who stood unsuccessfully as the SNP candidate for Orkney and Shetland in 1983, has died aged 93.

Generally considered the most important Scottish politician of her generation, Mrs Ewing served as an MP, MEP and MSP, and was the first presiding officer of the reconvened Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Her breakthrough by-election victory in Hamilton in 1967 is widely credited as helping to create the modern SNP and independence movement.

After her victory, she famously said: “Stop the World, Scotland wants to get on”.

Her death has been met with an outpouring of tributes from across the political divides.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said: “Winnie Ewing was well known across the Highlands and Islands.

“She had a drive and determination and a sense of fun which meant that even those who disagreed with her still held her in respect and affection.

“I send my deep sympathies to Annabelle, Fergus and the whole family.”

Conservative MSP for the region, Jamie Halcro Johnston, said: “I am sorry to learn of Winnie Ewing’s passing.

“I remember first meeting Winnie when she was a candidate for Orkney and Shetland at the 1983 General Election and even then, as a child, being rather starstruck by someone who was such a big political figure.

“While we may have been of different parties, I very much recognise the huge impact she made in Scottish politics, and the contribution she made to political life in the Highlands and Islands region over many decades.

“My thoughts are with Fergus, Annabelle and all of Winnie’s family and friends at what will be a difficult time”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I am heartbroken at this loss, and my condolences go to Winnie’s family, particularly her three children, Fergus, Annabelle and Terry.

“No words can truly capture the unique and unparalleled contribution that Winnie made to Scotland and Scottish politics.

“Her work over many decades – including in the UK, European and Scottish Parliaments – shaped the modern nation we have today.

“Without Winnie – without her breakthrough by-election victory in Hamilton in 1967, her dedication to the cause of Scottish independence, and her promotion of Scotland’s interests in Europe over many years – the SNP would never have achieved the success we have, and self-government for Scotland would never have become the priority it did.

“Winnie was a pioneer and a patriot, and there were so many aspects to her life and work that I hope will get the recognition they deserve in the days to come.”

Mrs Ewing died surrounded by her family on Wednesday.

She is survived by children Fergus, Annabelle and Terry, and grandchildren Natasha, Ciara, Jamie, and Sophie.

Her family said she also had a deep affection for daughters-in-law Fiona and Jacqui and was a loving and devoted wife to Stewart Martin Ewing, who died in 2003 aged 76.


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