Freedom of Angus is given to former MP and Provost

ANDREW Welsh, former MP, MSP and Provost of Angus, has been made an Honorary Freeman of Angus.

The honour, which was bestowed on him by Angus Council at a ceremony on Friday evening, recognises his prominence in the political scene in the county for almost 40 years.

Angus Provost Helen Oswald said: “To be admitted as an Honorary Freeman of Angus is the highest civic honour that can be bestowed on an individual by the council and this illustrates the very high esteem that Andrew is held in for his long years of public service to the people of Angus.”

She added: “Andrew Welsh has dedicated his adult life to the service of the people of Angus. No other parliamentarian has given the years of service that he has, with over 18 years at Westminster, 12 years at Holyrood and three years as Provost of Angus.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this unique honour than Andrew Welsh.”

Provost Oswald said they had received apologies from the First Minister of Scotland, The Right Hon. Alex Salmond, MSP who was unable to attend, but she read out a letter of congratulation from the First Minister.

Mr Welsh first came to Angus from Glasgow in 1974 when he was elected to the South Angus seat as the first SNP MP to represent the people of Angus.

His initial foray into the Westminster parliament only lasted one term and the seat changed hands on May 3, 1979. However, in 1984 Mr Welsh was elected to represent the Arbroath Warddykes Ward on Angus District Council. He led the move to re-name the post of Chairman of the Council to the more traditional name of Provost and in so doing, became the first Provost of Angus himself. He was also instrumental in reviving the tradition of the ‘Kirkin’ of the Council’ a ceremony that had been dropped after regionalisation in 1975.

Mr Welsh stood and was returned as MP to the Westminster Parliament in June, 1987, and he remained there until 2001. He was elected to the new Scottish Parliament in 1999 and remained there until his retirement in May 2011.

Recently, he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of the County and he has agreed to become an Angus Champion, working alongside the council for the benefit of the county.