Norman Hogg died in October 2008, aged 70. He was born in Aberdeen and went to Causewayend school and Ruthrieston secondary school, before going to the local college of commerce and becoming a local government officer on Aberdeen council. He was there for 14 years until 1967, having joined the Labour party at the age of 21. He was then a full-time official of the local government officers’ union, Nalgo, for 12 years until winning East Dunbartonshire in 1979 from the Scottish National party MP, Margaret Bain, later Ewing.
He became deputy chief whip in 1983, only four years after arriving at Westminster, establishing himself as the ideal whip – a man of the utmost discretion who saw everything and told nothing. He was genial and friendly and exuded an immense cheeriness.
He was always an implacable opponent of Scottish nationalism, having supported devolution but repeatedly resisted any suggestion that the Labour party could enter into a pact with people he regarded as “political untouchables”. He also had endless time for his constituency, which became Cumbernauld and Kilsyth after 1983.
His 15 minutes of fame came when he tried to introduce a private member’s bill in 1980 to amend that section of the 1701 Act of Settlement which forbids the heir to the throne from marrying a Catholic. It happened when the Prince of Wales was rumoured to be courting a Catholic member of the European aristocracy, Princess Astrid of Luxembourg, but with the hounds of Fleet Street baying at his heels, Hogg’s primary concern was with a plumbing problem in Cumbernauld new town.
He had stood down as an MP in 1997, accepted a life peerage and greatly delighted in sitting in Holyrood Palace during his tenure as lord high commissioner beside the hereditary Conservative peers and beneath the portraits of the Scottish nobility. He married Elizabeth McCall Christie, a local Labour activist, in 1964 and she worked with him at Westminster. She survives him.