Former presiding officer and Conservative MSP Sir Alex Fergusson has died aged 69.
Image: Sir Alex Fergusson (Source: The Telegraph)
Ruth Davidson described him as a “proper gentleman” who would be mourned by everyone who knew him.
Sir Alex was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and stood down before the most recent Holyrood elections in 2016.
He served as the parliament’s third presiding officer from 2007 to 2011.
A hill farmer by trade, he was first elected for the South of Scotland region and later became MSP for the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale constituency, re-drawn in 2011 as Galloway and West Dumfries.
He was knighted for services to politics and public life in 2016.
Flags will be lowered today as a mark of respect for, and in memory of, former Presiding Officer Sir Alex Fergusson who died this morning pic.twitter.com/mgDLFmGjDg
— Scottish Parliament (@ScotParl) July 31, 2018
Ms Davidson said: “Alex Fergusson was a proper gentleman. His decency, compassion and wisdom earned him friends across all parties. His passing will be mourned by all who knew him.
“He wasn’t just a major figure in the Scottish Conservatives.
“He was also, as the Scottish Parliament’s third Presiding Officer, a hugely significant figure at Holyrood and a stout defender of the parliament. He enjoyed the respect of every MSP in the chamber.”
“On behalf of everyone in the Scottish Conservatives, I offer my deepest condolences to his family and friends,” she added.
Scottish secretary David Mundell said: “To me, Alex was foremost a great friend and I will miss him dearly.
“He is the most thoroughly decent person I have ever known. He was the absolute opposite of the career politician and was guided a sense of public duty and his core values of family, community and country, rather than party dogma.”
Saddened by the death of former Presiding Officer Sir Alex Fergusson. He presided over us with good humour and a fundamental decency that was recognised by Members from every party. pic.twitter.com/Rd2IHDXsq5
— PO Ken Macintosh MSP (@KenMacintoshMSP) July 31, 2018
The Rt Hon Sir Alex Fergusson passed away last night, after a short illness, surrounded by his family. A huge figure in the Scottish Conservative party, he'll be missed by his many friends across the political spectrum. pic.twitter.com/gtYJ4z3xFi
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) July 31, 2018