East Lothian Courier
Tributes paid to ‘the nicest man in Parliament’
TRIBUTES have been paid to the former Conservative MSP, MP and Scotland Office minister, Lord Selkirk of Douglas, who has died at the age of 81.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross MSP described Lord James as a “an extremely distinguished politician at both Westminster and Holyrood”.
He added: “He was a true gentleman whose popularity crossed all political divides. His career in local government, Holyrood and Westminster was distinguished by the courtesy and respect he showed to everyone.
“In 1999, the newly created Scottish Parliament benefited from the wisdom and gravitas Lord James brought to proceedings, and which was honed during his 23 years as a highly effective MP and latterly Government minister. I had the pleasure of meeting him when we were both in Westminster and his passion and interest in Scottish politics never waned. He will be sadly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.”
East Lothian MP Kenny Macaskill, like Lord James, was a Lothian region list MSP from 1999 to 2007. He said: “Politics can be rough at times but Lord James was universally accepted as the nicest man in Parliament.
“That wasn’t simply by his Tory colleagues but across the political divide and was also shared by staff who worked for him. He’ll be missed by far more than his family and friends.”
Michael Russell, SNP president, described him as a “kind and considerate man who gave his life to public service”.
He added: “His speech in the Act of Settlement in the first year of the Parliament is still regarded as one of the best ever delivered at Holyrood and that ability to express important things clearly, his devotion to serving his constituents, his previous Parliamentary and ministerial career at Westminster and his later service as a dedicated working member of the House of Lords are all hallmarks of his huge contribution to public life in Scotland which should be long celebrated and remembered.
“He will be much missed across the parties, a rare thing which speaks volumes about his unique blend of charm, wit and political ability.”
Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “As well as unstinting service to politics, public service and our party, Lord James added a heap of personality too. Kind, witty and a gentleman. A wise head, he was hugely supportive to generations of young Turks coming up through the ranks. The stories will be told fondly.”
Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the peer as “a kind and considerate man who served his country with distinction”.
“He was MP for Edinburgh West as I grew up and he always asked after my parents when we got to know each other later in life,” he added.
Christine Jardine, current MP for Edinburgh West, said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Lord James Douglas Hamilton, former MP for Edinburgh West. I met him often in my career and he was always such a gentleman, with a kind word and genuine concern for those he served.”
Jackson Carlaw MSP, a former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, called him a “wonderful man”.
He said on social media: “Page boy at Queen Elizabeth II’S coronation, stories of Khrushchev staying as a house guest, author of both a compelling book on the Hess misadventure to meet his father and a hugely entertaining autobiog