David McLetchie leaves £900,000 estate in will

David McLetchie was described as an 'immense figure'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
David McLetchie was described as an 'immense figure'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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FORMER Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie, who died last August following a cancer battle, has left an estate worth almost £900,000 in his will.

A solicitor by profession, the 61-year-old was MSP for the Lothian region and became party leader shortly before the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Mr McLetchie took the reins after the Tories were wiped out in the 1997 general election but resigned in 2005 amid controversy over his taxi expenses, although he continued as a frontbencher.

His recently published will reveals he had an estate valued at £892,894 at the time of his death and instructed that the majority of his wealth should be split between his second wife, Sheila, 65, and son James, 33.

He also bequeathed £5000 to his long-serving personal assistant, Ann Menzies, and £1000 to researcher Martin Donald. A gift of £5000 was left to his old school George Heriot’s.

The bulk of Mr McLetchie’s estate was comprised of his £800,000 home in Blackhall, while furniture and personal effects were valued at £20,0000.

He was owed £1754 from his Scottish Parliament pension, had more than £13,000 held in bank accounts and more than £8000 in shares.

Born in Edinburgh in 1952, Mr McLetchie attended Leith Academy and George Heriot’s School before going on to study law at Edinburgh University.

He contested the Edinburgh Central seat in 1979, losing to Labour’s Robin Cook. He was elected as a list MSP for Lothian in 1999.

From 2003-11, he was MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency before again representing the Lothian region. Mr McLetchie was awarded a CBE last June.

In 2012, he was diagnosed with cancer – the disease which claimed wife Barbara in 1995.

During his time at Holyrood, Mr McLetchie had been his party’s chief whip, business manager and constitutional affairs spokesman. He was also known for his passion for Hearts, rugby and golf.

More recently, Mr McLetchie was on the organising group of the Better Together campaign.

David Cameron led the tributes to him following his death, saying he was deeply saddened by the loss of an “immense figure in Scottish politics”.

The Prime Minister added: “When devolution came, he picked up the reins and made sure that the Scottish Conservatives had a strong voice at Holyrood. He was one of Scottish politics’ most formidable intellects and finest debaters.”

Current Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said Mr McLetchie had faced his illness with “dignity, courage and good humour”.

First Minister Alex Salmond described him as “a very considerable politician of the devolution era”.

Following his death, son James said: “The family are devastated at the loss but are immensely proud of the courage and dignity he showed during his illness.”