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James (Jim) Sillars


1937 -

Politician. Born in Ayr and educated at Ayr Academy. Sillars was a fireman, who rose through his union to gain nomination as a Labour candidate. Elected as Member of Parliament for South Ayrshire (1970), however when he became disillusioned by Labour's lack of enthusiasm for Scottish independence, he stunned that party by resigning to form a new Scottish Labour Party (1976). Sillars lost his seat in the 1979 general election and disbanded his new party to join the Scottish National Party, becoming the eloquent spokesman for its left-wing. Sillars married the forceful nationalist politician Margo MacDonald (b. 1945) and won the Govan seat in 1988 which she had won in 1973.

He lost this seat in 1992 and retired from politics to become a tabloid newspaper columnist. Sillars courted controversy in articles in support of the 'Keep the Clause' debate, relating to the discussion of alternative sexual attitudes in schools (2000).


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