A SCOTTISH councillor who previously worked as John Swinney’s chief of staff during his first stint as SNP leader has died.

Stuart Borrowman, who represented the Armadale and Blackridge on West Lothian Council as an independent, suffered a stroke on Wednesday and passed away on Friday morning, according to reports.

Tributes were paid to the “incredibly hard working” Borrowman by his colleagues on the council, on which he had served since 2003.

Borrowman worked as John Swinney’s chief of staff from 2001 to 2002, during the now First Minister’s first time as leader of the SNP.

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He resigned after just eight months saying he had “only ever intended to stay about a year”.

He then defected to Labour in 2004, facing calls from his fellow SNP councillors to stand down and force a by-election.

In 2007, when he was re-elected to be a councillor, Borrowman ran as an independent.

After news broke of Borrowman’s death, West Lothian Council provost Cathy Muldoon said: “I'm very sad to hear of Councillor Borrowman’s passing.

“Stuart was, without a doubt, an incredibly hard working councillor. Intelligent, articulate and driven – his work ethic and commitment to his area and his constituents was there for everyone to see.

"I know how highly respected Stuart was within the council and within his local community. I'd like to offer my sincere condolences to his family and close friends at this sad time."

West Lothian Council said its flag would be flown at half-mast “as a mark of respect”.

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, the council’s leader, said: “I am extremely saddened by Stuart’s passing. I have known him for 30 years and he was a big personality and a very popular local councillor. It is hard to imagine the council without him.

“He was devoted to all of the communities within the Armadale and Blackridge ward, and his wealth of local government experience served West Lothian in so many different ways.

“Stuart will be fondly remembered for his leading role on both Armadale and Blackridge, Westrigg, and Westcraigs Children's Gala Day committees but his influence went much further. He was involved in so much and this all came from his love of his local area. He was also a published author – writing about what he loved most – his village.

"He was a proud Blackridge boy and it is very poignant that the Blackridge Gala Day takes place this weekend, an event Stuart loved and was so influential in organising.

“His other loves were Hearts FC, Armadale Thistle and, of course, his family, who he was so proud of.

“On behalf of everyone at West Lothian Council, I’d like to extend my sincere condolences to his wife, Aileen, and family at this very sad time.”