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Former ‘lynchpin’ of Westminster journalism dies aged 78

Stuart TrotterA former daily newspaper political correspondent described as a “lynchpin” of the Westminster journalist community has died aged 78.

Tributes have been paid to Stuart Trotter, pictured left, who worked for Glasgow-based daily The Herald for more than 30 years in a variety of roles.

Stuart, who died on Sunday, served as Chairman of the Press Gallery in 1983 while working as The Herald’s parliamentary correspondent, one the few non-national print journalists to be elected to the role.

A supporter of UKIP, his Herald obituary penned by former Lobby colleague Willy Russell revealed that he had “relished” the outcome of the EU Referendum held shortly before his death.

Born in Edinburgh into a family of journalists, Stuart followed in the footsteps of his uncle Sandy Trotter, editor of the Scottish Daily Express.

He grew up in Liverpool, where his father was an executive on the Liverpool Daily Post, and worked on a local newspaper before moving to The Herald in 1965 as a reporter in Glasgow.

A year later, he moved to its Westminster team, headed up by Jack Warden, to cover Scottish legislation as parliamentary correspondent.

Wrote Willy: “In those days newspapers reported the proceedings of bills as they made their way through Parliament and all the speeches by Scots MPs in debates, a practice long gone. It was that there he built up his impressive range of political contacts.

“As parliamentary correspondent, he wrote the sketch, something he greatly enjoyed, which he did with wit and style.”

Stuart spent the last 12 years as political correspondent before taking early retirement in 1996.   He was awarded the OBE for services to journalism the following year.

After retirement, he lived in Edinburgh and had a passion for literature, theatre and film.

An active member of the National Union of Journalists who represented the Gallery at several NUJ conferences, his political views changed from Liberal to Conservative over the course of his life.

In the late 90s he had contributed some material for a speech the then Tory leader William Hague was due to make in Scotland, and, according to Willy, was “not pleased” when it was unused.

The obituary concludes:  “He then became a supporter of UKIP, to the surprise of those who knew him and relished the result of the referendum in which he voted. It created just the sort of problems to which he enjoyed seeking the answers.

“Always smartly dressed – he had the deportment of a Poirot – he favoured in bad weather those Russian furry hats, which lent him a certain distinction. For years he enjoyed travelling in Europe, although recently he tended to stay in the United Kingdom.

“What he liked most was a good hotel, good food and a good book. He never married, although there were certainly two serious relationships which did not get as far as the altar.

“He was, in the best sense of the words, an old-fashioned ladies’ man.”