Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson dies

Gordon Wilson

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Gordon Wilson retained an active interest in politics after he left parliament

The former leader of the Scottish National Party, Gordon Wilson, has died. He was 79.

Mr Wilson led the party from 1979 to 1990. He represented Dundee East in the House of Commons from 1974 to 1987.

He died in hospital early on Sunday after a short illness.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Wilson had been “a passionate advocate for Scotland at every level”. Former First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland “owed him a great debt”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “From his early days promoting the case for independence on Radio Free Scotland to his 13 years of service as MP for Dundee East and 11 years as leader of the party Gordon was a passionate advocate for Scotland at every level.

She added: “Gordon was always forthright in his views and his commitment to seeing Scotland become an independent country was second to none. Even – perhaps especially – on those occasions when his views on tactics differed from mine, I always highly valued and appreciated his advice.

“My thoughts are with Edith and all of his family at this time. Gordon will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all those who knew and worked with him in the SNP and across the country.”

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Mr Wilson was part of the 1974 intake of SNP members of parliament

Mr Salmond said: “Not only was Gordon one of the masterminds of the SNP parliamentary breakthrough of the 1970s but he led the party through tough times in the 1980s. Holding his Dundee seat in 1979 and 1983 was crucial in retaining the credibility which allowed the SNP to prosper in the 1990s and beyond.

“The party, the national movement and Scotland owe him a great debt and my condolences go to Edith and the family.”

Mr Wilson is survived by his wife Edith, his daughters Margaret and Katie, and five grandchildren.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “On behalf of the Scottish Labour Party I would like to extend our condolences at this sad time.

” Our thoughts are with Gordon Wilson’s family and friends at this time.”

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Media captionFrom 1974: Alan Watson asks Scottish Nationalist Party MP Gordon Wilson what claim Scotland has over oil discovered beneath the North Sea

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