Former SNP Leader Gordon Wilson Passes Away

25 June 2017, 12:29

Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson passed in hospital this morning after a short illness.

He was leader of the Scottish National Party from 1979 to 1990, and was SNP Member of Parliament for Dundee East from 1974 to 1987.

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon commented:

"Gordon Wilson's contribution to the success of the modern SNP was immense and his loss will be keenly felt across our party. He was a fine and kind man, a loving husband, father and grandfather and a true patriot.

"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.

"He was at the centre of many lively and passionate debates through the 1970’s and 80’s over how independence would be achieved and continued to play a part in the independence debate right though the referendum in 2014.

"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."

Alex Salmond, who succeeded Gordon Wilson as leader in 1990, added:

"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."

Deputy First Minister and family friend John Swinney said:

"Gordon Wilson was a giant of the Scottish National Party. He was critical to the transformation of the SNP from the fringe to the mainstream of Scottish politics. His administrative, campaigning and political skills built the SNP into a nationwide political force. The strength of the SNP today is built on the courage and tenacity of fine people like Gordon Wilson."

We ask that the privacy of Gordon’s family is respected in the coming days. We will issue a further statement when funeral arrangements are made.

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