Scotland Parliament’s Dewar Dies
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) _ Donald Dewar, the first leader of Scotland’s new Parliament, died of a brain hemorrhage Wednesday. He was 63.
Dewar, who recently had surgery to have a mechanical heart valve fitted, had tried to continue his official duties after falling Tuesday, but later complained of feeling unwell.
He had been on life support and was unconscious when he died at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
Dewar was Scottish Secretary in the Labor government of Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 until 1999, when Scotland’s new Parliament was formed.
Blair said he felt ``shock and dismay″ over his colleague’s death.
``Personally I will remember him as a very good friend. ... He was as strong and supportive as any friend could be,″ Blair said.
Despite the long-running and continuing antagonism between Labor and the Scottish Nationalists, the two parties joined forces with the Liberal Democrats in 1997 to campaign for a yes vote in the referendum on the Parliament. Dewar headed the Labor effort.
``Mr. Dewar has a precious place in history as the First Minister of Scotland’s first-ever democratic Parliament,″ said John Swinney, leader of the Scottish National Party. ``He will always be remembered for the role he played in working with the other political parties to ensure such a remarkable referendum result in 1997.″
Dewar had represented a Glasgow constituency in the British Parliament since 1998, and was also elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
``He was a man of great vision. He lived to make his vision a reality but was robbed of the chance to see it completely fulfilled,″ said Charles Kennedy, a Scot who leads the Liberal Democrat party.
Dewar is survived by his son, Ian, and daughter, Marion. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.