Tributes as ex-SNP leader Halliday dies aged 85

ALEX Salmond last night led tributes to a former leader of the SNP who died yesterday at the age of 85.

Jimmy Halliday led the Scottish National Party from 1956 to 1960, taking on the job at the age of just 29.

Mr Salmond said he had steered the party through “four crucial years”, as it began to expand in the 1960s.

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Born in Wemyss Bay in 1927, he was educated at Greenock High School and Glasgow University.

Mr Halliday stood three times for election, in Stirling, Falkirk and West Fife, before playing a central role in the publication of the Scots Independent newspaper.

He also had a distinguished career in education both as a teacher and a lecturer, becoming principal lecturer in history at Dundee College of Education.

He authored books, including A Concise History of Scotland; 1820: The Radical War and Yours for Scotland - A Memoir. Mr Salmond said last night: “Jimmy Halliday became leader of the SNP whilst still in his 20s in 1956 and guided the party through four crucial years preparing for the expansion of the 1960s.”

He added: “When he became chairman in 1956 the SNP had had only two candidates in the 1955 election of which he was one. A few years later the party was contesting every seat in Scotland and winning by-elections.”