Tributes to former BBC and STV journalist Colin Mackay

Colin Mackay
Former political editor, Colin Mackay has died aged 79

Tributes are being paid to the former political journalist Colin Mackay who has died, aged 79.

Mr Mackay spent almost 20 years as political editor for STV News before joining the BBC.

During a career spanning five decades he interviewed seven prime ministers including Margaret Thatcher.

Colin Mackay officially retired from BBC News in 2008, but continued in a freelance capacity until just a few weeks ago.

Born and educated in Glasgow, Mr MacKay started his career as reporter at Border TV in the late 1960s.

He then went to Grampian TV before becoming political editor at STV in 1973, where he remained until 1992.

He was a member of the lobby at Westminster during these years and presented various political programmes.

He also had a spell as presenter of Radio Clyde's Sunday morning phone-in.

After STV, he joined BBC Radio Scotland as the presenter of the weekly politics programme People and Power and went on to present Politics Tonight.

He also played a leading role on election programmes and other big news events, such as the opening of the Scottish Parliament and the funeral of the Queen Mother.

'Old-fashioned values'

Outside news and current affairs, he presented a religion and ethics programme as well as contributing to various programmes on Radio 4, Radio 5 Live and the BBC World Service.

In 1997, he was named BT Scottish Radio News Broadcaster of the Year and only stepped down from presenting duties in December 2008.

After his retirement from BBC News as a member of staff he worked for a number of years in a freelance capacity, assisting both colleagues in news and corporate affairs with advice on complaints handling. He was still working for the BBC until very recently.

Gary Smith, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, paid tribute to a "brilliant political journalist, wonderful colleague, and lovely man".

"In the busy world of journalism he was - to the end - a pillar of the old-fashioned values of courtesy, humour and erudition," he said.

"I know he will be much missed by those he worked with at the BBC and STV, by politicians from all parties across Scotland, and by the audiences of the many programmes he presented over the years."