MSP Margo MacDonald dies aged 70

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who had Parkinson’s disease, died at home in Edinburgh last Friday aged 70.

MacDonald represented the Scottish National Party (SNP) at both Westminster and Holyrood, before serving as an independent MSP for the Lothian region in later years.

She spearheaded the campaign to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland and introduced two member’s Bills on this issue.


During her political career she was also a vocal campaigner on a wide range of issues including Scottish independence and a Bill to legalise prostitution “tolerance zones”.

In 1996 MacDonald was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and in 2002 she made her illness public.

Last year, she introduced her most recent assisted suicide Bill supported by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who is now expected to take sole charge of the legislation.

Assisted suicide campaign

MacDonald’s previous attempt to liberalise the law was defeated in 2010 by 85 votes to 16 on a free vote.

She is survived by her husband, former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars, two daughters and four grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned on 25 April and will be held in the Assembly Hall on the Mound in Edinburgh.

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