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(Robert) Gordon Wilson


1938 - 2017

Politician, who became Leader of the Scottish National Party. Born in Govan, the son of a van driver, he was educated on the Isle of Man and went on to read law at the University of Edinburgh. He spent his early career as a solicitor in Paisley, before being elected as the Member of Parliament for Dundee East in 1974. He was one of only two Scottish Nationalists to retain their seats in 1979 and was elected National Convenor of the party later that year. He reformed the party, which was in decline, and enforced discipline by expelling the members of fringe groups. However, the party's fortunes did not revive and he lost his seat in 1987, but continued as party leader and is given the credit for sowing the seeds of their later success. He resigned the leadership in 1990, which passed to Alex Salmond (b.1954). He served as Rector of the University of Dundee (1983-86) and was awarded an honorary degree by that institution on his retirement from that position.

He retired to Broughty Ferry, where he spent time sailing on the Firth of Tay. Wilson died at Roxburghe House, the palliative care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee.


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