THE Scottish Parliament’s former presiding officer Sir Alex Fergusson, who ran the family farm in Barr, has died.

Sir Alex, who was 69, took over the running of the South Ayrshire farm in 1971.

He was elected as a Conservative at the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999.

He remained an MSP until his retirement in 2016.

He took over the position of Presiding Officer of the parliament in 2007. 
The required neutrality of the role meant he had to resign from Conservative Party.

He rejoined on being elected in 2011 and standing down from his post. 

Fergusson took over the family farm at Alton Albany, on the edge of Barr, in 1971.

His father had been a minister in Barr and the family had held the estate since 1735.

Fergusson had served as a community councillor but reportedly had little political ambitions prior to being elected as an MSP.

Early on in the Parliament’s life, he had called for a fox hunting ban to be thrown out, arguing it was ‘unworkable’.

He was named Tory agriculture and environment spokesman after re-election in 2003.

He was then elected Presiding Officer in 2007.

He died following a short illness and is survived by his wife Merryn and their three sons, Iain, Dougal and Christopher.