THE independent MSP for Lothian Margo MacDonald, who died today aged 70, has been a key figure in Scottish politics for the last forty years. We look back on some of her most notable achievements and interventions.
1973: MacDonald wins the Govan by-election for the Scottish National Party, and takes a seat in the House of Commons. Last year, MacDonald wrote that “everything and nothing had changed” in the forty years hence. Read her thoughts on her former Glasgow constituency here
1982: MacDonald, having lost her seat at Westminster in 1974, became the deputy leader of the SNP until 1979. In 1982 she left the party altogether, in reaction to the ban on internal party factions which affected her influential ‘79 Group’. David Torrance looks back on the fall-out from the 1982 Party Conference
1999: MacDonald returned to frontline politics in the new Scottish Parliament, taking an SNP seat at the 1999 Scottish General Election. She continued to clash with party heads, receiving a written warning for speaking to the press and missing a vote within the Parliament’s first year. Read our Focus on MacDonald from 2002 here.
2003: MacDonald was elected to the Scottish Parliament once again, but this time as an independent MSP. She wrote a diary of the campaign for The Scotsman - read her behind-the-scenes account here.
2008: MacDonald became a tireless campaigner on the issue of assisted suicide as the decade wore on - she had revealed her Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2002. She helmed a BBC documentary on the subject in 2008; read more about the project here.
2012: MacDonald continued her campaign for changes to the law on assisted suicide with her trademark wit and humour. Peter Ross met up with Margo in 2012 and refused to rule out a further term in office. She said: “I’ve got things I want to do. That’s why I’m still here.”