Winnie Ewing

Winnie Ewing / Political Figures

Born in Glasgow, in 1929, Winifred (Winnie) Ewing was educated at Glasgow University after which she practiced law. She became involved in politics, joining the Scottish National Party. In 1962, membership of this party had declined to a microscopic 2,000. In 1966 the SNP contested some 23 seats at the General Election, its biggest ever entry. It polled over 128,000 votes.

But its biggest ever victory, in symbolic and emotional terms, came on 2 November 1967, when Ewing won the Hamilton by-election in a three-cornered fight between Labour, the Conservatives, and SNP (the Liberals did not contest this by-election). The previous year, Labour had gained 70.2 per cent of the vote at the General Election in this seat.

Ewing's victory was a tremendous shot in the arm for the SNP, though she lost the seat in 1970. She gained a seat again with Moray and Nairn, where she was MP from 1974-79. She became a MEP in 1975. Re-elected to this post in 1984 she had a 16,000 majority. This was trebled in 1989, with a majority in the Highlands and Islands of 45,000. She was elected President of the SNP in 1987, and joined the Scottish Parliament in 1999. She lives in Elgin.