Scotland politics

Leading devolution campaigner Canon Kenyon Wright dies

Kenyon Wright Image copyright PA
Image caption Canon Kenyon Wright was an instrumental figure in the creation of the Scottish Parliament

Canon Kenyon Wright, who played a central role in the creation of the Scottish Parliament, has died aged 84.

Mr Wright chaired the executive committee of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which laid the groundwork for Holyrood.

The retired Scottish Episcopal Church priest died on Wednesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said he was "a great loss to Scotland's political, civil and religious communities".

Her predecessor, Alex Salmond, described him as "one of the great spirits of the movement of self-government."

Born in Paisley in 1932, Mr Wright worked as a Methodist missionary in India before serving at Coventry Cathedral in England.

He returned to Scotland in 1981 as General Secretary of the Scottish Council of Churches.

'His legacy will live on'

A long-time campaigner for Scottish devolution, he played a prominent role in the cross-party Scottish Constitutional Convention which laid the groundwork for devolution.

He famously responded to Margaret Thatcher's refusal to accept the idea of Scottish devolution with the comment: "We say yes - and we are the people."

He later unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the parliament as a Liberal Democrat candidate.

Ms Sturgeon said she was "deeply saddened" by the news.

She said: "His input to the creation of the Scottish Parliament cannot be overstated.

"His chairmanship of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which led to the creation of the Scottish Parliament, was testament to his strength of character, tenacity and charisma. He was able to bring together the different strands of Scottish politics and society to achieve consensus about the way ahead for Scottish devolution.

"His legacy will live on through the work of the Scottish Parliament."

'Fitting reminder'

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also paid tribute.

She said: "His work and tireless campaigning with the Scottish Constitutional Convention is a vital reason why we have a Scottish Parliament today.

"For generations to come there will be a parliament in Edinburgh that makes decisions affecting the everyday lives of Scots, and that is the wonderful legacy he leaves behind.

"The day before the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999, Canon Kenyon Wright handed the Claim of Right to Donald Dewar.

"That document now resides in the Donald Dewar Room in the Scottish Parliament, a fitting reminder of what was achieved by these giants of Scotland's devolution movement."

Scottish Greens co-convener, Patrick Harvie, said: "I was very sad to learn of Kenyon Wright's death, and will remember him not only as a long-standing supporter of the campaign to create and then strengthen the Scottish Parliament, but also as a thoroughly decent and respectful voice on the political landscape.

"Politics these days can often be hostile, impatient and divisive; it's a time when we need more people with Kenyon's non-tribal approach. He'll be sadly missed across the whole political landscape and I hope that we'll all remember him both as a friend and as a great example of civilised politics."

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