10th July 1929

Madame Ecosse is born in Glasgow

Winnie Ewing had a long and varied political career. She was president of the Scottish National Party between 1987 and 2005, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, an MP at the House of Commons between 1967 and 1979, and a member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1999. As SNP member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Ian Blackford, told the House of Commons on her 90th birthday, that made her the only parliamentarian to have sat in all three legislative bodies.

First to speak

When the new Scottish Parliament held its first debate, Winnie Ewing was the first to speak, opening the session by saying “I want to start with the words I have always wanted either to say or to hear someone else say – the Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on March 25, 1701, is hereby reconvened”.

Nicola Sturgeon chose Winnie Ewing as her political hero in a talk with the BBC and remembered Winnie’s speech upon the parliament’s opening. On 23 March 2018, she told the BBC, “I was there in the chamber, and it was an incredibly emotional moment … to see the woman who had served in the House of Commons as champion of a Scottish Parliament, served in the European Parliament, to come to a third parliament and declare it reconvened in the way she did”.

Champion of Scotland

In a 1987 debate in the Westminster parliament on the future government of Scotland, Winnie’s daughter-in-law, Margaret Ewing, MP for Moray, referred to Winnie’s successful campaign for the Hamilton seat 20 years before, which she had run under the slogan “Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on”.

“That philosophy still underpins the policies and the actions of the SNP,” Margaret Ewing said. “Members like to disparage us by talking about separatism and isolationism, yet the people of Scotland have been denied the right to have their voice heard in the world international community. That is where we seek to take our nation.”

Winnie was given her nickname, Madame Ecosse, by fellow European politicians when she was elected to the European Parliament and used her position both to secure funding for Scotland and represent it on the wider political stage.



Other events that occured in July

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