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Death announced of former MSP

Section:  Annan and Eskdale, Dumfries and West  | Tags:

FLAGS flew at half mast at Holyrood on Tuesday after the death of former MSP and Scottish Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson.

Mr Fergusson, 69, was an MSP for the region for 17 years, stepping down in 2016.

During his tenure, he was also Holyrood’s third presiding officer, a role he held from 2007-11.

Sir Alex, who lived in Dalry, was educated at Eton and ran the family farm before standing for the Tories in the 1999 Scottish Parliament elections. He won the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat, which later became Galloway and West Dumfries. He was also the Scottish Conservative spokesman on agriculture

He retired before the 2016 elections and was then knighted for services to politics, the Scottish Parliamentary process and public life in Scotland

He died at home on Tuesday morning after a short illness, surrounded by his family- and leaves a wife and three sons.

Leading the tributes, Tory leader Ruth Davidson described him as “a proper gentleman” and sent her condolences to his family and friends.

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP said: “To me, Alex was foremost a great friend and I will miss him dearly. He is the most thoroughly decent person I have ever known. He was the absolute opposite of the career politician and was guided by a sense of public duty and his core values of family, community and country, rather than party dogma.

“His legacy was to ensure our Scottish Parliament was a parliament for the whole of Scotland and that rural issues were given their place, never more so than during the devastating Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001, when he was the farming communities’ voice.

“We can take comfort from the positive mark his public service has left on Scotland.”

His political successor, Finlay Carson MSP, said: “First, and foremost Alex was a great friend. I can’t underestimate the influence he made to my career over the years that I knew him. “He was a true gentleman. Alex will be greatly missed in both the private and public lives of people right across Scotland.”

Also paying tribute, council leader Dr Elaine Murray, who served alongside him at Holyrood as an MSP, added: “Alex was very committed to representing his constituents, which he did with grace and dignity. He was a good and honourable man, highly respected across political parties and will be greatly missed.”

Alister Jack, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, last night paid tribute to Sir Alex Fergusson describing him as ‘a politician of great principle with a deep sense of fairness.’ He said: “Whereever I have gone in the area since being elected to Westminster I have heard many warm comments about Alex during his time as MSP and of his dedication to his constituents.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth added: “Alex was a real giant of a man in every way and will be very sorely missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him. He treated everyone, friend or political foe, with decency and good humour and was a real gentleman respected by everyone across the political divide.”



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