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Tributes paid to ‘true gentleman’ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton


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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has died aged 81 (UK Parliament/PA)

Tributes have been paid to “distinguished” Conservative peer Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, who has died aged 81.

Lord Douglas-Hamilton served as an MP, MSP and a Scotland Office minister, and joined the House of Lords in 1997.

Born in 1942, he entered politics in 1972 as a councillor in Edinburgh.

He was elected to Westminster as MP for Edinburgh West in 1974 – a role he kept for more than two decades.

During his time at Westminster, he served as junior minister in the Scottish Office under Margaret Thatcher from June 1987 until July 1995, when he was promoted to minister under John Major.

He represented the Lothian region at Holyrood from 1999 until 2007.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross led tributes to the “true gentleman”.

He said: “I’m extremely sorry to hear of James’s death, and my thoughts are with his wife Susie and all the family.

“As well as being an extremely distinguished politician at both Westminster and Holyrood, he was a true gentleman whose popularity crossed all political divides.

“His career in local government, Holyrood and Westminster was distinguished by the courtesy and respect her showed to everyone.

“In 1999, the newly created Scottish Parliament benefited from the wisdom and gravitas Lord James brought to proceedings, and which was honed during his 23 years as a highly effective MP and latterly government minister.

He will be much missed across the parties, a rare thing which speaks volumes about his unique blend of charm, wit and political ability
Michael Russell, SNP

“I had the pleasure of meeting him when we were both in Westminster and his passion and interest in Scottish politics never waned.

“He will be sadly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.”

SNP president Michael Russell said: “My condolences are with the family of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, a kind and considerable man who gave his life to public service.

“I had the privilege to serve alongside Lord James on the first bureau of the Scottish Parliament. His originality was memorable and I was lucky to travel abroad with him on delegations on two occasions, when I greatly enjoyed his company at formal and informal occasions.”

Mr Russell added that Lord Douglas-Hamilton’s first speech in Holyrood is “still regarded as one of the best ever”, and he praised his “devotion” to serving his constituents.

“He will be much missed across the parties, a rare thing which speaks volumes about his unique blend of charm, wit and political ability,” he added.

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