• Mr Millan, who had cancer, died on February 21 from bronchial pneumonia
• Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont spoke at his funeral
Speaking at his funeral in Glasgow, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said he stood for hard work where action mattered rather than headlines.
“Too often politics is lived in the instant, in the moment, with a rush to judgment and a habit of allowing the loudest voices to reinvent the past in order that they might shape the future,” she said.
“But at this saddest of times for Bruce’s family, we have an opportunity to reflect on the scale and depth of Bruce’s political legacy and to celebrate the life of a good man, with a life well-lived in the service of others. A man who served Scotland through very turbulent times but whom history will remember favourably.”
Mr Millan, who died aged 85, was born in Dundee and served as an MP in Glasgow for 29 years. He was first elected to represent Glasgow Craigton in 1959 and, after that seat was abolished, went on to represent Glasgow Govan at Westminster until 1988.
He then took up the role of European Commissioner for Regional Policy and Cohesion in Brussels until 1995.
Ms Lamont said that while he was not a “great speaker”, he made up for it with his intellect and driven commitment.
“We may not remember his speeches but many have cause to be grateful for the jobs he created, the systems he put in place, the action he took to create economic and social opportunity, not just in Scotland but across Europe,” she said.
“So in our degraded political discourse, where spin and slogans are too often easy substitutes for the hard work of applying power to problems, we should recognise the skill and focus of a politician, Bruce Millan, for whom the action, not the headline, mattered most.
“And of course Bruce was a politician who was in the political trenches through very turbulent times, where big issues provided challenges aplenty. For a quiet man, his career did not allow him a quiet life: Europe, devolution, industrial decline, or disarmament.”
He was loyal, principled and had a radical streak, she said.
Mr Millan, who had cancer, died on Thursday February 21 from bronchial pneumonia at Glasgow Southern General Hospital. He is survived by his wife Gwen, son Mark, daughter Liz and two granddaughters.
In a statement released after his death, Mark Millan, 56, described his dad as someone who “very much loved and looked after his children and grandchildren”.
He said: “He always found the right balance for political commitments and his love and care for his family. He was very much involved and generous with his family and his time. He was a great dad.”