This is one of those blog posts you never, ever want to write. Reporting the news of the death of a colleague is horrible. This is the post I published on Liberal Democrat Voice yesterday. The only thing to add is that BBC News now report that a 25 year old man has been arrested in connection with an assault on John.
Scottish Liberal Democrats were shocked to learn of the sudden death of former East Dunbartonshire Council Leader John Morrison at the age of just 50. The Sunday Herald
reports that John was found unconscious as the result of an assault in a Glasgow Street early on Saturday morning and died later in hospital.
John was affectionately known as Hobbit throughout the Scottish party. He had acquired that nickname while at Glasgow University and bore it with his customary good humour. He’d been a leading light in the university debating society as well as Young Social Democrats. He went on to lead East Dunbartonshire Council from 2003-2007. As a senior Councillor, he also represented the party on the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. In recent years ASLDC had benefitted from his wisdom and experience as he’d served as Vice-Convener. Outside politics, he headed the Legal Department of Glasgow City Council. He leaves his partner, David and daughter, Kirsty.
While he was Council Leader, Jo Swinson was elected as MP for the area. She paid this tribute to him:
This is shocking news and my heart goes out to John’s partner, family and friends. John was a skilful debater and effective leader of East Dunbartonshire Council. He dedicated decades of his life to public service, both in elected politics and at Glasgow City Council. This is a tragic loss.
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Scottish Deputy Leader Alistair Carmichael’s close friendship of John’s dated from their university days. He said:
John Morrison’s sudden and tragic death has shocked all those who knew him. For me he was not just a political colleague but a close friend whom I had first met when we were both students at Glasgow University. My sadness today is lifted only by many happy memories I shall always have of the fun times we shared. I am sure that this will be true of John’s many friends today. My thoughts are with his partner David, his daughter Kirsty and the rest of his family.
I didn’t know John terribly well, but whenever I did come across him, he always had something interesting and challenging to say and he always made me laugh. I most recently saw him in the Summer when he and I put the world and the party to rights on a short train journey.
He will be very sorely missed by many people in East Dunbartonshire and across Scotland.The thoughts of all at Liberal Democrat Voice are with his partner, family and friends. Please feel free to share memories of John in the comments thread.
UPDATE: Charles Kennedy, another Glasgow University Liberal Democrat alumnus, has also paid tribute to John, saying:
This shockingly sad news sees the sudden passing of a great character and a memorable personality within the party.
I first became friends with John at Glasgow University and was pleased when he succeeded me there as chairman of the Social Democrats in university union debating.
He went on to make his mark both in the law and local government. It was a great pity that he was never able to deploy his talents at Holyrood.
Our thoughts go out to his family at this time of such acute distress.