Parties suspend election campaigns after Prince Philip’s death

The SNP, Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and the Greens cease campaigning as tributes are paid to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Parties suspend election campaigns after Prince Philip’s death Getty Images
Prince Philip passed away at Windsor Castle aged 99.

Scotland’s major political parties have suspended campaigning for the Holyrood election following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The SNP, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens have all said they will cease campaigning, as tributes are paid to Prince Philip.

The Scottish Parliament is to be recalled on Monday and political leaders will express their condolences during the session.

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said: “I have decided to recall Scottish Parliament on Monday at 11am so that members can pay their respects to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who extended his friendship and support to the Parliament from the outset.

“Party leaders will be given the opportunity to speak to a motion of condolence.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those paying tribute on Friday to the Duke of Edinburgh north of the border.

She said in a statement: “On behalf of the people of Scotland, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and the rest of the royal family.

“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time and their grief is shared by people across the country.

“The Duke of Edinburgh had deep and longstanding ties to Scotland, attending school here at Gordonstoun and regularly holidaying at Balmoral Castle.

“From his patronage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, to his close association with the University of Edinburgh as chancellor for over 50 years and his commitments to countless charities and organisations, Prince Philip’s long contribution to public life in Scotland will leave a profound mark on its people.”

But the First Minister has urged Scots not to lay floral tributes at Balmoral or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as would be customary.

She added: “Online books of condolence will open in the coming days to allow people to pay their respects.

“In line with current restrictions, the Royal Household has requested that members of the public do not leave floral tributes or gather at the Palace of Holyroodhouse or Balmoral Castle at this time.

“The Palace has suggested that people could donate to charity instead, if they wish to do so.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “In the middle of a political campaign, this is a reminder of what’s most important in life.

“We have lost a tremendous public servant who for decades served his Queen and country. My heartfelt condolences are with Her Majesty and all of the royal family.

“We have suspended our campaign, effective immediately.”

Scottish secretary Alister Jack described the duke as “an amazing man” and “a great character”.

He said: “It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness had a long and fond relationship with Scotland and, through his fantastic Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, has played a key role in building the confidence, ambition and aspiration of thousands of young Scots.

“As we reflect on the duke’s life, we give thanks for his remarkable lifetime of dignity and devoted service, and extend our deepest condolences to the royal family.”

Scotland’s other political leaders also paid tribute, with Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar saying: “Scotland is today mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant who contributed so much to our country.

“My thoughts are with the entire royal family and Her Majesty the Queen, following the death of her beloved husband.

“On behalf of the Scottish Labour Party, I offer our sincerest sympathies.

“Prince Philip had a deep love for Scotland and we will now come together as a country to remember his life and mark his distinguished career.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “We recognise that the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh will be felt deeply by some across the country and express our sympathies with his family, who join many others who have lost loved ones in this last year.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Philip had “99 years of an outstanding life and 70 years of astonishing service”.

He said the duke was “often colourful” with “often controversial language”, but was “always absolutely dedicated to his wife the Queen and to the country”.

He added: “The Duke of Edinburgh scheme in particular will be a legacy that will last way beyond his life. That is a legacy that will last for many, many years to come.

“His death marks the end of a great UK servant.”

Former first minister and Alba Party leader Alex Salmond praised the Duke of Edinburgh’s service to the UK, saying: “On behalf of the Alba Party, my condolences go to Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest serving consort in history and no-one can question that record of public service.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Awards gave hope and purpose to generations of young people. On a personal level, I found Prince Philip direct and forthright but always welcoming and with a fine, enquiring mind.”

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh expressed his condolences on Twitter, as he ordered the flags outside Holyrood to fly at half-mast.

“On behalf of the Scottish Parliament I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to the Royal Family following the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh,” he wrote.

“Prince Philip accompanied Her Majesty on many of her visits here and their unwavering support for this institution as well as the Duke’s to Her Majesty were clear for all to see.”