Lead­ing cam­paigner in fight for de­vo­lu­tion dies aged 84

Canon’s in­put in help­ing to cre­ate Par­lia­ment ‘can­not be over­stated’

The Herald - - NEWS - TOM GOR­DON

THE First Min­is­ter has led tributes to Canon Kenyon Wright, one of the key founders of de­vo­lu­tion, who has died at the age of 84.

The for­mer Epis­co­palian priest was chair­man of the cross-party Scot­tish Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion, which in 1995 pub­lished the blue­print for the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

Ni­cola Stur­geon said she was deeply sad­dened by his death, but said his legacy would live on through the work of the Par­lia­ment. She said: “He is a great loss to Scot­land’s po­lit­i­cal, civic and re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties. His in­put to the cre­ation of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment can­not be over­stated.

“His chair­man­ship of the Scot­tish Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion, which led to the cre­ation of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, was tes­ta­ment to his strength of char­ac­ter, tenac­ity and charisma.

“He was able to bring to­gether the dif­fer­ent strands of Scot­tish pol­i­tics and so­ci­ety to achieve con­sen­sus about the way ahead for Scot­tish de­vo­lu­tion.”

For­mer first min­is­ter Alex Sal­mond said Canon Wright was “one of the great spir­its of the move­ment of self-gov­ern­ment” and his role on the Con­ven­tion had shown “a pa­tience, com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion of ex­tra­or­di­nary di­men­sions”.

He added: “In more re­cent times, his will­ing­ness to em­brace the in­de­pen­dence cause demon­strated that his be­lief in Scot­land tran­scended any po­lit­i­cal party or par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion. His guid­ing light was the right of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion of the peo­ple of Scot­land.

“Scot­land has cause to be grate­ful for the life of our very own grand Canon, and his pass­ing will be mourned by many.”

Scot­tish Labour leader Kezia Dug­dale said Canon Wright’s tire­less cam­paign­ing with the Con­ven­tion was “a vi­tal rea­son why we have a Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to­day”.

She said: “For gen­er­a­tions to come there will be a par­lia­ment in Ed­in­burgh that makes de­ci­sions af­fect­ing the ev­ery­day lives of Scots, and that is the won­der­ful legacy he leaves. The day be­fore the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment opened in 1999, Canon Kenyon Wright handed the Claim of Right to Don­ald De­war.

“That doc­u­ment now re­sides in the Don­ald De­war Room in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, a fit­ting re­minder of what was achieved by these gi­ants of Scot­land’s de­vo­lu­tion move­ment.”

Born in Pais­ley in 1932, Mr Wright was a Methodist mis­sion­ary in In­dia be­fore serv­ing at Coven­try Cathe­dral in Eng­land.

He re­turned to Scot­land in 1981 as Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the Scot­tish Coun­cil of Churches.

A long-time cam­paigner for Scot­tish de­vo­lu­tion, fa­mously re­sponded to Mar­garet Thatcher’s re­fusal to ac­cept the idea with the com­ment: “We say yes – and we are the peo­ple.”

The Con­ven­tion grew out of the Cam­paign for a Scot­tish Assem­bly, which in 1988 pro­duced the Claim of Right declar­ing “the sov­er­eign right of the Scot­tish peo­ple to de­ter­mine the form of gov­ern­ment best suited to their needs”.

A year later it was signed by most of Scot­land MPs, MEPs and coun­cils, as well as trade unions, civic groups and churches.

Al­though it had no le­gal force, it was a per­sua­sive state­ment of pub­lic opin­ion un­der­pin­ning the Con­ven­tion, which in turn pro­duced Scot­land’s Par­lia­ment, Scot­land’s Right in 1995. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said he died peace­fully at home on Wed­nes­day.

CANON KENYON WRIGHT: Praised for his ‘tenac­ity and com­mit­ment’.

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