Margo MacDonald

1943 - 2014

Margot MacDonald MSP
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Margot MacDonald MSP

Politician, journalist and broadcaster. Born in Hamilton and educated at Hamilton Academy, Margo MacDonald trained as a teacher of physical education. A committed and vocal Scottish nationalist, MacDonald won a shattering victory in the 1973 Govan by-election, which had always been a Labour strong-hold. She failed to retain the seat in both of the general elections held in 1974, but became Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party (1974-9) before being ousted from the party in 1982 due to her outspoken views.

She went on to establish herself as a forceful presenter of various radio and television programmes and wrote regular columns for Scottish newspapers including the Edinburgh Evening News and The Sunday Post.

She also ran a communications company and was responsible for setting up or re-organising health-related telephone help-lines for drug addicts, AIDS sufferers and those trying to give up smoking.

In 1997, she was elected to the Scottish Parliament, representing the Lothians. Soon, the independent-thinking MacDonald fell foul of her party machinery and was deselected. However she successfully stood as an independent candidate in the 2003 elections and was listed as one of Scotland's most powerful women in 2004.

MacDonald suffered from Parkinson's Disease and campaigned in support of 'assisted suicide'. She died at her home in Edinburgh and her funeral took place at Mortonhall Crematorium, with a memorial service in the Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland on the Mound.

MacDonald was married to columnist and former politician Jim Sillars (b.1937).

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