Tam Dalyell, who was a Labour MP for 43 years, has died at the age of 84 following a short illness, his family have confirmed. Dalyell, the MP for West Lothian and Linlithgow from 1962 to 2005, was an outspoken politician who was nevertheless loved by MPs from across the political spectrum.
Dalyell was an Old Etonian who became a staunch socialist yet remained a monarchist, a proud Scot who was against independence.
It was Dalyell who first formulated the so-called "West Lothian Question", asking why he, as a Scot, could vote on matters that had no impact on Scotland, whereas English MPs following devolution could not vote on most matters relating to Scotland. After the Scottish Parliament was formed in 1999, Dalyell refused to vote on purely English topics – despite pressure from the whips.
Dalyell was several times ejected from the House, getting into particular trouble for branding then-PM Margaret Thatcher a liar over the sinking of the Belgrano in the Falklands conflict of 1982.
He also criticised the bombing of Kosovo, the Iraq War and the "New Labour" project. He was, he said, "ancient Labour" – and remained uncompromising to the end, despite becoming "Father of the House" in 2001 as the longest-serving MP. He retired in 2005 but continued to write.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "The Labour movement has lost a giant. Tam Dalyell was one of the most influential MPs, writers and thinkers of his generation. Tam served the people of West Lothian tirelessly for decades through periods of great change. He truly was their champion."
Dalyell leaves behind his wife, Kathleen, a son and a daughter. In a statement published by the Daily Record his family said: "The family of Tam Dalyell are sorry to announce his death earlier today at the age of 84, after a short illness. Tam Dalyell devoted his life to public service in Scotland, in the UK, and beyond. He made an enormous contribution in many spheres. He will be much missed both publicly, and more importantly personally, by his family and many friends."
Tam Dalyell was born on 9 August 1932 and died on 26 January 2017.