Former North Tayside MP Bill Walker dies aged 88

Bill Walker, the kilt-wearing Tory who served as MP for North Tayside has died at the age of 88.

Bill Walker was a well-known Scottish MP for North Tayside. Picture: TSPL
Bill Walker was a well-known Scottish MP for North Tayside. Picture: TSPL

Walker entered parliament with Margaret Thatcher in 1979 when the seat was known as Perth and East Perthshire.

He was a well-known figure in the House of Commons until he lost his seat during the Tony Blair landslide of 1997.

Born in a Dundee tenement, he served in the RAF for two years after the war, having graduated from the Air Training Corps which he joined as a cadet and undertook his first solo glider flight aged 16.

John Major campaigns in Perth ahead of the 1997 General Election accompanied by wife Norma and local MP Bill Walker. Picture: TSPL

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He retained links with the RAF and ATC throughout his life. In the Commons some colleagues nicknamed him “Biggles”, because of his enthusiasm for aviation issues. After a varied business career north and south of the border, he entered parliament in unusual circumstances.

He unsuccessfully contested Dundee East in 1974 before defeating 44 other candidates to fight Perth and East Perthshire. He had to campaign in a wheelchair because he had badly damaged his back in a gliding accident. He had been a gliding instructor in his spare time.

Walker was a proud Scot who was well-known for sporting Highland dress in parliament. Although he did not serve in a Tory government, his career as a backbencher was notable for the fact that he managed to get five Private Member’s Bills passed. He is survived by his wife Mavis and their three daughters.

John Major campaigns in Perth ahead of the 1997 General Election accompanied by wife Norma and local MP Bill Walker. Picture: TSPL