Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to former Angus MP and MSP Andrew Welsh, who has died.
The First Minister posted a message on social media about the 77-year-old veteran independence campaigner.
She wrote: “Very sad to hear of the passing of dear friend and colleague, Andrew Welsh, former SNP MP and MSP for Angus.
“Andrew was a campaigner for independence long before it had the levels of support enjoyed today. He will be hugely missed. Sending love to Sheena and the family.”
Very sad to hear of the passing of dear friend and colleague, Andrew Welsh, former @theSNP MP & MSP for Angus. Andrew was a campaigner for independence long before it had the levels of support enjoyed today. He will be hugely missed. Sending love to Sheena and the family.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 18, 2021
Mr Welsh, originally from Glasgow, was first elected in in 1974 for the SNP in South Angus. He represented the area again at Westminster as boundaries changed between 1987 and 2001.
He was among the first intake at the new Scottish Parliament in 1999, retiring in the SNP landslide of 2011.
Mairi Gougeon, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, also reacted on social media. She wrote: “So sorry to hear of the passing of Andrew Welsh, former Provost, MP and MSP for Angus.
“A life dedicated to public service and dedicated to the cause of independence, and you just couldn’t meet a nicer or more genuine person. Thoughts with his wife Sheena and family x.”
Sad to say Andrew's passing means there are only two MPs still alive from the eleven strong SNP Westminster group from the 1970's. We never forget that we stand on the shoulders of giants.
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) June 18, 2021
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mr Welsh had been a “champion” for the region in both parliaments.
“So sorry to read this news,” he wrote on social media. “Andrew always had a smile on his face and was a champion for his constituents at both Holyrood and Westminster.”
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who worked with him in both parliaments, said: “A great sadness to hear of the death of Andrew Welsh, a loyal and talented colleague at Westminster and in the Scots Parliament.
“Andrew provided the backbone of Scottish Nationalist elected representation over four full decades as a parliamentarian and as Provost of Angus.”