Harry Ewing celebrates after winning the Falkirk by-election in September 1971.
Harry Ewing celebrates after winning the Falkirk by-election in September 1971.

In Pictures:  Harry Ewing – from foundry worker to the House of Lords

2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the first steps in Harry Ewing’s long political career.

By Allan Crow
Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 4:10 pm

It took the foundry worker from Fife to the House of Lords, and saw him emerge as consistent champion for Scottish devolution.

Born in Cowdenbeath, Lord Ewing first entered the world of politics when he unsuccessfully contested the safe Tory seat of North-East Fife in 1970, losing out to Sir John Gilmour.

One year later, he stood for Labour at a by-election and won the Falkirk and Stirling seats.

He made an immediate mark with his maiden speech on unemployment - he campaigned against job cuts all his life.

From British Alcan to Ravenscraig, he spoke up for workers facing a bleak future, telling the House: “My aim in life has always been that there should be work for all."

Lord Ewing served as Under Secretary of State for Scotland in governments led by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, and became a front bench spokesman on Scottish industry in 1981.

His role in Labour’s Scottish devolution plans was also of huge significance.

He retired from the House of Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer, taking the title of Baron Ewing of Kirkford.

These archive images capture the scenes of celebration as he was first elected as an MP for Falkirk at the beginning of the 1970s.

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