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Dewar, Donald (Scotland, United Kingdom)

Reference work entry

Introduction

Donald Campbell Dewar was the Labour first minister (1999–2000) of Scotland’s first parliament since the seventeenth century. A prominent Labour politician who had championed the cause of Scottish devolution since the late 1960s, he played a key role in Labour’s general election success of 1997. However, his most important work came in establishing a Scottish parliament and serving as its first minister. He was plagued by ill health during its first year and died in office.

Early Life

Dewar was born on 21 Aug. 1937 in Glasgow, Scotland to Dr Alasdair Dewar, a consultant dermatologist, and Mary, who ran the Scottish Culture Society. His parents both suffered ill health and Dewar spent an unhappy spell at boarding school before attending the Glasgow Academy. He then studied law at Glasgow University, where he honed his debating skills as a member of the Labour Club and president of the University Union. He also became close friends with contemporaries including the future...

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