Maria Fyfe (1938-2020)

A Tireless Campaigner

It is with great sadness we have to record the death of former Labour MP – and SLHS member – Maria Fyfe, who passed away on Thursday 3rd December.

Born in Glasgow, the daughter of a tram driver and a shop assistant, she studied at Notre Dame High School and, as a mature student, took a degree in economic history at the University of Strathclyde in 1975, subsequently working as a senior lecturer in trade union studies at Glasgow Central College of Commerce from 1978 to 1987.  

Having joined the Labour Party in 1960, she became a Glasgow councillor in 1980 and was elected as the MP for Glasgow Maryhill in 1987, standing down in 2001. She was convenor of the Scottish Labour MPs in 1991-2 and front bench spokesperson on Scotland from 1992 to 1995.

She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow in 2002.

Maria was a tireless campaigner for women's rights and a woman's right to choose, and was “proudest” in helping ensure that the Scottish Parliament recommenced its life with an almost equal representation of women and men – “up there with the Scandinavian countries,” she said.

In latter years, Maria led the successful campaign to erect in Govan a statue commemorating Mary Barbour, Clydeside rent strike leader and Labour councillor.

A full obituary of our stalwart friend and generous donor will be carried in the 2021 edition of the Scottish Labour History Journal.