George Reid (Scottish politician)
Sir George Reid PC FRSE (born 4 June 1939) is a Scottish politician. From February 1974 to May 1979 he served as a Scottish National Party Member of Parliament for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire. He was elected in 1999 as a Member of the newly established Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife. From 2003 to 2007 he served as member for the Ochil constituency and was appointed as the Scottish Parliament's second Presiding Officer.
Sir George Reid
|2nd Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament|
7 May 2003 – 14 May 2007
|Preceded by||David Steel|
|Succeeded by||Alex Fergusson|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
3 May 2003 – 7 May 2007
|Preceded by||Richard Simpson|
|Succeeded by||Keith Brown|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
for Mid Scotland and Fife
1 May 1999 – 3 May 2003
|Born||4 June 1939|
Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
|Political party||Scottish National Party|
In May 2008, Reid was appointed as the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for the duration of the General Assembly's sitting that year. In 2009, he was appointed as Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire.
Early life and workEdit
George Reid was born in 1939 at Tullibody, near Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, and educated at Dollar Academy and the University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, where he was awarded an MA degree with First-class honours in History in 1962. He then continued with further studies in Switzerland and Union College in the United States, obtaining a diploma in international relations.
He worked as a broadcast journalist and television producer for the BBC, Granada Television and Scottish Television, and as a print journalist for several newspapers. In this time he produced over 200 television documentaries, including Emmy winner Contract 736, about the construction of the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2.
Reid was elected as the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of Parliament for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire in the February 1974 general election, with a majority of 3,610. He more than doubled his majority to 7,341 in the October 1974 general election, but then lost by a narrow 984 votes in the UK general election, 1979.
After leaving Westminster he briefly returned to journalism. For BBC Scotland, he presented Agenda, which was produced by Kirsty Wark. He was producer of the famous reportage by Michael Buerk of the Ethiopian famine of 1984 that inspired the Band Aid and Live Aid charity campaigns, which led him to be headhunted by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. He was part of an international disaster team that responded to the 1988 Armenian earthquake. He was Director of Public Affairs of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent for 12 years, based in Geneva, Switzerland, but working worldwide in conflict and disaster zones.
In 1995 Reid re-entered Scottish politics by delivering the annual Donaldson Lecture at the SNP conference, drawing on his knowledge of continental European politics to argue a case for why a party like the SNP could be expected to prosper if a Scottish Parliament was established. Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland George Robertson's contrary claim that devolution would "kill the SNP stone dead" was dismissed by Reid by saying "Ho, ho, ho".
He stood in the Ochil constituency, which covered approximately the same area as his old seat, at Westminster in the UK general election 1997, coming in second. When the new Labour administration moved forward with proposals for a Scottish Parliament, Reid first served on the pre-establishment Consultative Steering Group, and then was elected in the first election in 1999 to represent Mid Scotland and Fife.
At the opening of the Parliament Reid was defeated 82 votes to 44 by Sir David Steel (a Liberal Democrat, the last-ever leader of the British Liberal Party) for the position of Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and was instead elected a Deputy Presiding Officer.
At the 2003 Scottish Parliament Election Reid succeeded in winning the Ochil constituency first past the post. He was then elected by his fellow MSPs to succeed David Steel as Presiding Officer. As the Presiding Officer is expected to be strictly nonpartisan, he voluntarily suspended his SNP membership for the duration of his tenure.
As the Presiding Officer has a role in advising The Queen, Reid was appointed a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 2004. At the official opening of the controversial new Scottish Parliament building that year, he made a keynote speech in which he paid tribute to the construction as an architectural achievement, and urged parliamentarians to "listen to the building" to inspire them in their future endeavours.
As Presiding Officer he also led the creation of a Scottish Futures Forum, to promote cross-party strategic thinking. He was appointed President of the Royal Commonwealth Society Scotland, and became Patron of the Scottish Disability Equality Forum.
After Presiding OfficerEdit
Reid chose not to seek re-election at the end of the 2007 Parliamentary term. As an independent figure with experience of a devolved parliament, he was chosen to lead a review of the administration of the troubled Northern Ireland Assembly. Reid also joined the European Union's Caucasus-Caspian diplomatic commission. On 19 April 2007 he was made a Freeman of the County of Clackmannanshire. He had his portrait taken by photographer Harry Benson the same year.
He was then appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in January 2008, to serve as the Queen's personal representative to the Church of Scotland. This position is second only to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the ceremonial Order of Precedence. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire from 2011 to 2014.
In September 2009, Reid was appointed by the National Trust for Scotland to lead a wide-ranging internal governance review. Reid produced a report, making a range of recommendations that were accepted by the Trust.
Awards and honoursEdit
During his time as Presiding Officer he won the Herald newspaper's Scottish Politician of the Year award in 2003 and 2005, becoming the first person to have won the award on two occasions, followed by a lifetime achievement award in 2013. Reid was made a Free man of Clackmannanshire in 2007.
He received also several honorary doctorates, i.e. an LLD degree from the University of St Andrews in 2005, a DUniv degree from Queen Margaret University in 2006, the degree of Dr.h.c. from the University of Edinburgh in 2007, and a DUniv degree from the University of Stirling in 2008.
Reid is married with two children.
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|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire
| Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ochil
Sir David Steel
| Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
HRH The Duke of York
| Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn