The MPs and ex-MPs who died in 2017 – part three

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In 2017, we express goodbye to Alex Salmond’s predecessor as SNP leader, a Tory MP who holds the record for the company of completed London marathons, two Labour MPs who caused big upsets when friendly in 1997 and a Liberal MP who had a varied career also a naval officer, diplomat, hill agriculturist and author.

This is part three of a four-part series – read component one here and part two here.

Gordon Wilson: 16 April 1938 – 25 June 2017

Gordon Wilson, who drooped in June aged 79, led the SNP for more than a decade and was in charge during one of the myriad turbulent periods in the party’s modern history.

The Edinburgh-educated Glaswegian, who caused Dundee his home, was a lifelong advocate of Scottish independence and a lawyer who disputed fierce ideological battles within his own party.

He joined the SNP in the late 1950s after graduating from Edinburgh University. One of his initial notable achievements was to help set up and run the political pirate radio station, Boom box Free Scotland.

He made his influence felt first as as campaigner and then as a signer official. As vice-chairman in 1972, he coined the phrase “It’s Scotland oil” which grew the SNP’s slogan during the two 1974 elections.

He was elected to Parliament, as MP for Dundee East, in February of that year and was returned with an developed majority eight months later, subsequently taking a lead in developing and energy policy.

Five years later, he was elected national convener – or chairwoman – as the party was smarting from its setback in the 1979 general election. His holding was marked by internal disputes as he outlawed the ’79 Group who had sought to unite nationalism with socialism and which he viewed as a divisive force.

Their associates included figures who were to go on to play leading roles in the party in superintendence, including Alex Salmond – who ultimately succeeded him as leader in 1990.

After suffer the loss of his seat at the 1987 election, Gordon Wilson remained as leader – bonding this with a return to legal practice – but his authority had been damaged.

He failed in an go to get elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and in his retirement he devoted his time to navigating and writing his book about his leadership entitled SNP: The Turbulent Years 1960 – 1990.

In his perception, BBC’s political editor Brian Taylor wrote that Gordon Wilson when one pleases perhaps be remembered most for “the persistence and passion of his commitment to the cause he chose while still a young man”.


James Davidson: 10 January 1927 – 29 June 2017

The Aberdeenshire naval functionary turned Liberal politician, who died in June aged 90, reported his local area as an MP for just four years.

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of what the Scotsman thought in its obituary about his “brilliantly multi-faceted life”, which also saw him happen to a hill farmer, TV presenter, an author and a healthy eating campaigner.

Make allowances for into a naval family, he saw action in the Pacific at the tail end of World War Two and certified the Japanese surrender in Tokyo in September 1945.

After the war, he studied Russian at Cambridge and tried on to serve as a naval attaché in the British embassy in Moscow at the height of the Unheated War.

He returned home after inheriting a family farm and taught himself the agricultural corporation.

Adopted as the Liberal candidate for Aberdeenshire West, he was defeated in 1964 but two years timer won the seat for his party for the first time in 35 years.

He served as the coterie’s foreign affairs and defence spokesman after his election. Closer to welcoming comfortable with, he campaigned for improved transport links and economic development in the north-east of Scotland, while criticizing forward bills proposing a devolution referendum.

He backed Jeremy Thorpe in the influence contest following Jo Grimond’s retirement in 1967 after reportedly been accessed about standing himself.

With his wife suffering from ailment, he chose not to contest the Aberdeenshire West seat again in 1970.

After cease frontline politics, he served for 20 years as chief executive of the Nobility Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, which organises the popular King Highland Show.

Among other activities, he also became presenter of the long-running TV disclose Country Focus on Grampian, climbed the Eiger and was the author of a book on Scottish Naval days of yore.


Roland Moyle: 12 March 1928 – 14 July 2017

Roland Moyle, who checks dwindled in July aged 89, followed his father into politics and Parliament, opportune as a middle-ranking minister for more than half of the 1970s.

In its obituary, the Champion wrote that Roland Moyle “typified a generation of Labour bureaucrats, now almost forgotten, who followed the ideological path first trodden by their working-class begetters, but did so having acquired professional qualifications unavailable to earlier generations of their ancestors”.

Arthur Moyle, who started his life as a bricklayer, was parliamentary private secretary to Clement Attlee during the 1945-1951 Harp on government, before becoming a life peer and the former PM’s literary executor.

His son was active in Labour politics at Cambridge before being called to the bar in 1954.

He worked as an industrial kinswomen consultant and as secretary of the National Joint Industrial Council to the Gas Industry while also tasteful a councillor in south London.

He was elected MP for Lewisham North in 1966, two years after his old man stood down from the Commons, and subsequently held the re-drawn have room of Lewisham East between 1974 and 1983.

Serving as a ministerial aide to To the quick Secretary Jim Callaghan in 1969, he became involved in Northern Irish government, and after Labour returned to office in 1974, he became minister of magnificence for Northern Ireland – a post he held for two years during the height of the Take pains and with Ulster under direct rule.

He was promoted to minister of submit in the department of health in 1976, handling controversial issues such as abortion later limits and cigarette advertising. He was also made a privy counsellor,

After his terminate at the 1983 election, he became deputy chairman of the Police Complaints Control.


Gary Waller: 24 June 1945 – 21 July 2017

Gary Stockade drive crazy, who died in July aged 72, was one of a number of Conservative MPs who owed their governmental careers, at least indirectly, to Margaret Thatcher.

The former journalist and accessible relations consultant took the marginal Brighouse and Spenborough seat in West Yorkshire from Chore in 1979 as Margaret Thatcher swept into Downing Street.

After the mansion was abolished in 1983, he represented neighbouring Keighley, which was even numerous marginal – for 14 years from 1983 to 1997.

He never held ministerial role but was an assiduous member of a number of committees, overseeing the work of the Parliamentary library and its IT method.

He hit the headlines in the mid 1990s when the People published a story saying he had fathered a youth with the secretary of Tory colleague Sir Marcus Fox – claims which he acquiesced were true but which led him to accuse the newspaper of deceit and harassment.

After his best in 1997, he became president of the Harlow Conservative Association and later was designated to Epping Forest District Council, serving as a cabinet member at the fix of his death.

He still holds the record for the number of marathons completed by an MP, obliging run in 11 in total and 10 while he was in Parliament. The MP, who excelled in cross power running at school, helped promote the first-ever race in 1981 by posing excluded Parliament with a list of all 7.500 runners taking part.

In its necrology, the Yorkshire Post said as well as being a staunch defender of Yorkshire, he was also “eminent for his love of history and cars, especially Jaguars”.


Nigel Beard: 10 October 1936 – 31 July 2017

Nigel Beard, who longed in July aged 80, has the distinction of being the only Labour MP to show ones age for the constituency of Bexleyheath and Crayford in south-east London.

He won the newly created invest in 1997, one of a swathe of typically Tory strongholds captured by Tony Blair.

His winning was particularly sweet as he had failed on three previous occasions – 1979, 1983 and 1992 – to get designated to Parliament and finally made it to the Commons at the comparatively mature age of 61.

He already had an international business career behind him, working for pharmaceutical firms ICI and Zeneca,

During his eight years in the Generals, he was regarded as a moderate and a loyalist, voting in favour of the Iraq invasion in 2003 and ID in the offings, while also campaigning on local transport and health issues.

One of his more high-profile yet jinxed campaigns was his attempt to fix British Summer Time as standard all year encircling, which he saw as necessary to reduce road deaths during the winter.

In an question period with the Guardian on the eve of the 2005 election, in which he lost his seat, he cited his nurture in a Yorkshire mining community as being the strongest influence on his political perspective.


Kevin McNamara: 5 September 1934 – 6 August 2017

Kevin McNamara, who declined in August aged 82, was one of longest-serving Labour parliamentarians in post-war background.

He first entered Parliament in 1966 following a by-election in Hull North, triggered by the termination of the sitting MP. He was subsequently re-elected nine times, finally retiring in 2005.

He was differentiated principally for his support for the political and civil rights of Catholics in Northern Ireland – which made him a individual of suspicion among unionists when he became shadow secretary of confirm for Northern Ireland under Neil Kinnock in 1987.

A supporter of a united Ireland, he carry oned the post for seven years but was replaced by Tony Blair when he suited became leader in 1994.

Mr McNamara, whose views on Northern Ireland, the place of trade unions and other issues were at odds with the particle of New Labour, suggested he had been replaced “because I’m fat and bald and green”.

The son of a seaman, he had a Broad education and was a history teacher and law lecturer before he entered Parliament. He was a watertight Republican and long campaigned for the scrapping of laws barring a Catholic from winning the throne or the monarch marrying a Catholic.

After he retired from frontline statesmanship, he maintained his interest in Irish affairs, completing a PhD at the University of Liverpool on above-board employment practices for foreign firms operating in Northern Ireland.

The Keeper, in its obituary, said he had “publicly committed himself to the pursuit of social right, the dignity of the individual and the sanctity of family life, and he resolutely fought for all these bring ons throughout his years in parliament”.


Sir Edward Du Cann: 28 May 1924 – 31 August 2017

Sir Edward du Cann, who ended in September at the age of 93, was a businessman and Conservative politician who served as a minister in the managements of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home in the early 1960s.

During a dream of political career, he was also chairman of the Conservative party and led the influential 1922 backbench cabinet for 12 years.

Most famously, he chaired a meeting of MPs in 1975 which triggered a supervision contest which saw Margaret Thatcher defeat Edward Heath.

After decamping full-time politics in 1987, he returned to his extensive business interests, fitting chair of conglomerate Lonhro under its buccaneering and controversial boss Teeny Rowland.

Sir Edward, who served in the Royal Navy during World War Two patrolling the North Sea, represented the Somerset constituency of Taunton between 1956 and 1987.

He absorbed a number of middle-ranking ministerial posts in the early 1960s before befitting party chairman under Mr Heath when the party entered other side competing after their 1964 defeat.

Over a decade later he hosted a critical meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs at his London home in which they demanded Mr Heath solicit a fresh mandate from the party after his 1974 election shrinkage. In the ensuing leadership contest he was surprisingly defeated by Margaret Thatcher and resigned.

Du Cann’s economic affairs were not without controversy. His Telegraph obituary suggested his point career “dissolved into a morass of dubious ventures and unpaid owings”.

But Du Cann remained a popular figure in Conservative political circles, sermon a meeting of the 1922 committee in 2013 at the age of 89.


Christine Butler: 20 February 1929 – 6 June 2017

Christine Butler influenced off one of the more sensational Labour victories in the 1997 election, winning the Essex mansion of Castle Point – home to Canvey Island – for the first time in the dinner party’s history.

Although dismissed by some as a “paper candidate”, she prevailed by decent over 1,000 votes in one of the biggest shocks of the night.

She became party of the largest in-take of female MPs in parliamentary history, famously dubbed by the tabloid gentlemen of the press as “Blair’s babes”.

Unlike some of her peers, which included the likes of Jacqui Smith, Ruth Kelly, Yvette Cooper and Maria Eagle, she did not go on to come to terms a major impact in national politics but was well-respected and liked locally.

During her four years in Parliament, she was a fellow of the Commons Environment and Transport Select Committee and campaigned for better attack services for commuters, increased recycling and volunteering.

Representing a traditional Tory heartland, which had sponsored for Margaret Thatcher in huge numbers, she was always on borrowed time and suitably lost her seat in 2001 – albeit by a wafer-thin margin of 985 voters.

Born in Lancashire, she worked in the NHS and pharmaceutical industry before getting tangled in local politics, initially sitting on Essex County Council already making it to Westminster.

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