TRIBUTES have been paid to James Douglas-Hamilton, a long-standing MP for Edinburgh and a Conservative peer, who has died at the age of 81.

He was remembered as a “gentleman” who served his constituents with “genuine concern”.

Born in 1942, he was educated at Eton then Oxford University before becoming an advocate.

Douglas-Hamilton entered politics as a councillor in Edinburgh in 1972.

He was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Edinburgh West in 1974 and served in Margaret Thatcher’s (below) government as a junior minister in the Scotland Office.

The National: Margaret Thatcher

He was retained by her successor John Major until 1997.

In 1994, he was compelled to disclaim his hereditary peerage of the Earl of Selkirk in order to stay as an MP.

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On losing his seat in the Labour landslide of 1997, he was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Selkirk of Douglas.

He then served as an MSP following the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999 before stepping down in 2007.

Douglas-Hamilton retired from the Lords in July this year.  

Former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford paid tribute to the late politician, writing on Twitter/X: “James was my MP when I was growing up in Edinburgh.

“I used to visit him at his surgeries and he was always helpful and courteous in asking parliamentary questions which he knew I wanted asking to assist my case for independence.

“He was a gentleman and a respected opponent. Rest in peace James. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.”

Christine Jardine, who now holds his former Edinburgh West seat for the LibDems, added: “So sad to hear of the passing of Lord James Douglas Hamilton, former MP for Edinburgh West.

“I met him often in my career and he was always such a gentleman, with a kind word and genuine concern for those he served.”

STV News political editor Colin Mackay said: “Sad to hear of the death of Lord James Douglas Hamilton.

“He had been a Councillor, MP, MSP and member of the Lords - a lifetime of political commitment and contribution.”