Scotland politics

Margo MacDonald painting gifted to Holyrood

Margo MacDonald portrait Image copyright Andrew Cowan
Image caption The painting of Ms MacDonald was given to the parliament by her husband, Jim Sillars

A painting commemorating Margo MacDonald's 40-year contribution to politics has been unveiled at the Scottish Parliament.

Ms MacDonald, who died aged 70 in 2014, served as an MP and MSP and was deputy leader of the SNP between 1974 and 1979.

Her husband, Jim Sillars, has donated the painting by Scottish artist Gerard M Burns to Holyrood.

The portrait shows Ms MacDonald inside the parliament's debating chamber.

It has gone on display in the members' room of the parliament.

Speaking at the unveiling, Ms Sillars said his wife had "left a legacy of ideas which have inspired a generation".

Ms MacDonald, who was a key figure within the Scottish independence movement, had Parkinson's Disease and campaigned for assisted suicide to be legalised ahead of her death.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms MacDonald campaigned for terminally ill patients to be given the right to die

She was elected as the SNP MP for Glasgow Govan in 1973 and later served as an MSP when the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999, but had a fractious relationship with the party leadership over the next few years.

This led to Ms MacDonald claiming she had been effectively deselected by the SNP ahead of the 2003 Holyrood election, when she was left with little chance of being re-elected after being placed fifth on the Lothians regional list.

She was subsequently elected as an independent MSP for the region, serving in the role until her death.

Mr Burns has previously painted portraits of well-known Scots including Nicola Sturgeon, Billy Connolly and Ewan McGregor.

But he had never before painted a subject after their death.

Mr Burns said he had been "thrilled" when Mr Sillars asked him to paint Ms MacDonald, adding: "I felt very honoured. I had always been a real fan.

"As a politician, Margo always struck me as having great clarity of judgement and real integrity. No-one ever put words into her mouth and she was her own person.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Sillars family on Margo's portrait and it has been a real labour of love."

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