LORD Hughes of Hawkhill, a prime mover in securing the construction of the Tay Road Bridge, died at his home at Comrie in Perthshire on New Year's Eve, writes Ian Ansdell.

First Minister, Donald Dewar, said: ''Lord Hughes was a very effective and kindly man. I am very sorry to hear of his death.''

William Hughes, who died aged 88, was born and educated in Dundee, became a socialist councillor in 1933 at the age of 22, and was Lord Provost from 1954-1960.

Made a life peer in 1961, during the following 20 years he chaired the development corporations of both Glenrothes and East Kilbride new towns, and served as a Scottish Office Minister and Under Secretary of State for Scotland.

One of his contemporaries, Lord Ewing of Kirkford, the former Harry Ewing, said yesterday: ''As Minister of State, he had a massive remit, with responsibility for the Scottish Development Agency and the European scene.

''The Scottish Secretary at the time, Willie Ross, was a pioneer in recognising the importance of Europe. At that time, Britain was in the EEC but the referendum had not been held yet, and it was Willie Hughes's job to monitor European legislation as it affected Scotland.

''In addition, he and Willie Ross laid the foundations of the Scottish Development Agency. He was a superb fellow to work with - very gentle, and always willing to give much needed guidance. He often said that example wasn't one of the options of leadership, it was the only option.''

Lord Hughes was president of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations from 1975-93, and a member of the Council of Europe and Western European Union from 1976-87.

He and his wife, Christian, were married in 1951. Lady Hughes died just over five years ago. Lord Hughes is survived by daughters, Alison and Janet, and four grandchildren.

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