Winnie Ewing was a “heroine and a patriot” and a “trailblazer for women”, her daughter the SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing has said among emotional tributes at Holyrood.

The Nationalist icon, who died aged 93 in June, endured “hostility” and “downright misogyny” at Westminster after winning the famous Hamilton by-election of 1967, she added.

Humza Yousaf also praised Winnie Ewing as MSPs debated a motion of condolence, saying the SNP would “categorically” not have enjoyed its electoral success without her. 

He conveyed Holyrood’s sympathy to Ms Ewing’s three children, two of whom followed in her footsteps to become MSPs, Annabelle and Fergus Ewing.

Ms Ewing, a Glasgow-born lawyer, made political history in 1967 when she defeated Labour in the Hamilton by-election, becoming the SNP’s first MP in more than two decades.

The breakthrough paved the way for the SNP’s success in the second 1974 general election, when it won 11 MPs, its greatest tally until the SNP tsunami of 2015.

As well as an MP, Ms Ewing was an MEP and an MSP, announcing the Scottish Parliament had been “reconvened” in 1999 after the Act of Union in 1707 saw it temporarily “adjourned”.

Her hard work and determination in Brussels saw her dubbed “Madame Ecosse”.

Ms Ewing, Holyrood's deputy presiding officer, said her mother’s “long track record of electoral success” was not down to luck, but a result of her ability to inspire people.

“She was not just clever, kind and generous. She was not only stylish and charismatic. Winnie walked in other people’s shoes and they knew she would speak up for them.

“WInnie transformed political campaigning. She spoke directly to people in their factories, in their homes and on the streets.

“Winnie inspired people to imagine how things could be in a normal, independent country with transformative powers to create a fairer society and to participate in the world directly, taking our seats in the United Nations between Saudi Arabia and Senegal.

“The early Westminster years were tough for my mother. As the sole SNP MP in a House of Commons of 630 members, there was, it has to be said, a great deal of hostility, much involved with outright misogyny.” 

Her voice cracking, she concluded: “Winnie was a trailblazer for women. She was a legend in her own lifetime, a heroine and a patriot.

“She was also our mum, and Fergus, [brother] Terry and I are inordinately proud of her.”

She and her brother were consoled by other MSPs after she finished speaking, including Mr Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon.

The Herald:

Recalling Ms Ewing’s reconvening of the parliament in 1999,  Mr Yousaf said: “We can only imagine the emotions that she felt as she paid tribute to colleagues and friends from across political parties who campaigned for decades to see this very place become a reality. 

“But Winnie’s message from that hopeful day was very much one for the future.

“If the 1707 Parliament’s demise had been the end of an auld sang, Winnie said that the creation of this place allowed us to write a new one. 

“Across political divides, this chamber has been able to fulfil Winnie’s wish by working together, and as a parliament we’ve achieved a lot for the people we represent over the years.

“This parliament has helped Scotland build a few friends and partners the world over. 

“The SNP would not - categorically not - be where we are today without the contribution of Winnie. With her passing my party mourns the loss of a giant of our movement, both in terms of contribution and sheer force of personality. 

“But equally, Scotland as a whole has lost the relentless champion and a true pioneer.”

Tory Murdo Fraser said: “Winnie Ewing was not just a Nationalist icon but someone who was highly respected across the political spectrum, having served in three different parliaments. “She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her and by many who did not ever have the chance to meet her but knew her simply by reputation.”

Labour’s Dame Jackie Baillie said that Ms Ewing’s 1967 victory drove Labour to fast-track its plan for a Scottish Assembly in the 1970s, the precursor of the Scottish Parliament.

“This parliament in which we are all in today is very much part of the Winnie Ewing story.

“The legacy of Winnie Ewing is clear for all to see - in the electoral success of her party and in the articulate and thoughtful work done in this chamber by her children.”