Son of SNP founder has died
A well known and highley respected member of the Scottish National Party (SNP) has died.
He was aged 67 and lost a battle he had with cancer.
Professor Sir Neil MacCormick, a Scottish law expert died on Sunday at his home in Edinburgh.
He leaves behind his wife Flora, three daughters and three step-children.
Scotland's first Minister Alex Salmond said "He was a man of immense warmth, intellect and breadth of knowledge, and Scotland's public life is greatly the poorer for his passing."
PROFESSOR Sir Neil MacCormick, one of the most senior and respected figures in the SNP, has died after a long battle with cancer, it was announced yesterday. He was 67.
Alex Salmond led tributes to Sir Neil, who was still acting as a special adviser to the First Minister in the days leading up to his death.
His death came three days ahead of the 75th anniversary of the SNP – which his father, John MacCormick, helped to found.
Mr Salmond said he was "deeply saddened" by Sir Neil's death. "He was a man of immense warmth, intellect and breadth of knowledge, and Scotland's public life is greatly the poorer for his passing," he said.
The First Minister said Sir Neil had come from one of Scotland's leading political families, and had been passionately committed to his party and the cause of Scottish independence.
"Yet his approach was always inclusive, and he strongly believed in advancing Scotland's case by building alliances, and indeed friendships, beyond those of party," he said.
"Neil was a hugely distinguished academic, an outstanding ambassador for Scotland as a Euro MP, but, above all, a fine human being.
"His latter role was as a Scottish Government special adviser, where he made an excellent and important contribution, even during his period of illness."
Senior party sources said Sir Neil had continued in his advisory role during the latter stages of his illness, advising the First Minister on issues where he had a particular specialist interest.
His death was announced "with enormous sadness and regret" by the University of Edinburgh, where, for 36 years, he was regius professor of public law. Sir Neil was knighted in 2001 for his services to scholarship in law.
Professor Douglas Brodie, head of the university's school of law, said: "Neil was a valued friend, mentor, teacher and colleague to many people in the world of law and politics.
"He possessed a staggering intellect, great wit and a wonderful, dry sense of humour, but, most of all, a warmth and spirit that touched all who knew him."
Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said he was "very saddened" by Sir Neil's death.
"He was one of Scotland's most influential scholars in the fields of both law and politics but, above all, he was a Scottish patriot and that is a bond that binds him to many – regardless of one's political motivations," Mr Murphy said.
Eighty-one years ago, Sir Neil's father founded the National Party of Scotland, which became the SNP in 1934.
Sir Neil stood as a Westminster parliamentary candidate for the party in five elections between 1979 and 1999, and served as an SNP MEP from 1999 to 2004. He was also vice-president of the SNP from 1999 until 2004.
He retired from Europe to return to academic work in 2004 and was appointed as a special adviser to Mr Salmond after the 2007 SNP election victory.
Sir Neil was a long-standing fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy.
He was also awarded seven honorary doctorates, and in his term as a Euro MP was three times declared Scottish MEP of the year, in 2000, 2002, and 2003.
He is survived by his wife, Flora, and three daughters from a previous marriage.