Scotland politics

Former MSP Tom McCabe dies aged 60

Tom McCabe Image copyright Scottish Parliament

Former Labour MSP and minister Tom McCabe has died at the age of 60.

The politician represented the Hamilton South constituency from 1999 until 2011.

Mr McCabe was minister for parliamentary business, deputy minister for health and community care and minister for finance.

He made history in 1999 when he became the first ever MSP to be elected. Mr McCabe died at his home in Hamilton after a period of illness.

At Holyrood, Mr McCabe was minister for parliamentary business from 1999 to 2001, deputy minister for health and community care in 2003 and minister for finance and public service reform from 2004 until 2007.

He became the first MSP when he was announced winner of the Hamilton South seat 75 minutes after the polls closed in 1999.

He lost his seat to the SNP's Christina McKelvie by 2,213 votes in 2011 when the seat became Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

'Dedicated politician'

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said: "The thoughts and prayers of everybody in the Scottish Labour movement are with Tom McCabe's family today. That he has died at such a relatively young age and with so much still to give makes it harder to understand and accept.

"Tom McCabe was a good man. He was a dedicated servant of the Labour movement, and was a radical finance minister in the last Scottish Labour government. The dignity he showed in his final few months should act as an inspiration to us all. He will be hugely missed."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also paid tribute to Mr McCabe. Ms Sturgeon tweeted: "Very sad to hear of the death of former Labour MSP, Tom McCabe. He was a genuinely good guy. My thoughts are with his wife and family."

Tricia Marwick, the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, said: "I am so sad to hear the news of Tom's passing. He was devoted to his family, in particular to his wee daughter Ava. His joy when she was born and his delight in watching her grow was apparent to all around him.

"Tom made an immense contribution to the parliament and his expertise has been sorely missed since 2011. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tom McCabe (pictured back row second left) was a member of Jack McConnell's cabinet

Jack McConnell, who was First Minister of Scotland while Mr McCabe was finance minister, said: "Tom McCabe was a major influence on local and national politics in modern Scotland.

"From modernising local services as a council leader to steering the new parliament through difficult early years, his judgement and commitment were obvious to all who knew him. From the smoking ban to parliamentary standards, Tom's legacy is considerable. He will be missed by family, friends and by Scotland."

Eddie McAvoy, who succeeded Mr McCabe as South Lanarkshire Council‎ leader, said: "I had worked with Tom since the 1970s, first at Hoover and then at the council. He always wanted to do the best he could for the people he represented and he was a dedicated and committed public servant all his life.

"Tom was also a truly decent man and a great friend. His passing is a sad loss for South Lanarkshire, for Scotland, and most of all for his family. My thoughts are with them."