TRIBUTES have been paid to Ayrshire politician Chic Brodie, who has died at the age of 78.

Mr Brodie was described as a “lovely colleague and friend” by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, while Alex Salmond remembered the South Scotland MSP as someone who had made an “engaging and positive contribution to Scottish politics over many years.”

News of Mr Brodie’s death was shared on Twitter by Allan Dorans, the SNP MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

“Sad to report that Chic Brodie, former SNP MSP for South of Scotland, passed away today after a short illness. Thoughts and prayers with Mary and his family,” he tweeted. 

Mr Brodie was first elected to Holyrood in 2011, becoming a list MSP for the SNP little more than a year after he joined up. 

He had previously been an active member of the Liberal Democrats, standing as a candidate at every general election between 1974 and 2001.

He very nearly became an MP in 1983 when he was selected as the Liberal candidate in Glasgow’s Hillhead constituency. 

However, when in 1982, the sitting MP Tam Galbraith died, sparking a by-election, he moved aside to allow the SDP’s Roy Jenkins to contest the seat

Mr Brodie found success at the 1995 local elections in England when he was elected as a councillor in Surrey Heath, a seat he held until 1999.

He was the SNP’s candidate in Ayr for both the 2010 Westminster and 2011 Holyrood votes, but failed in his bid to win both contest.

However, he was returned on the South of Scotland regional list in 2011. 

Despite a high profile, Mr Brodie lost out in a fierce selection battle for the next Scottish Parliament election, with Glasgow councillor Jennifer Dunn picked by members to contest the constituency. 

And though he was still on the list, he was placed seventh, signalling the end of his SNP parliamentary career. 

That effective deselection followed questions over the payment of tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to a fellow SNP politician’s company for staffing services.

During his time in parliament he had paid almost £88,000 from his Holyrood expenses to Caledonii Resources for contract staff. 

The company, set up in 2010, was 90 per cent owned by his SNP colleague Corri Wilson, who later went on to become the MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

In January 2017, Mr Brodie resigned from the party and announced that he would stand as an independent candidate in the Ayr West ward of South Ayrshire as part of the 2017 Council election.

He secured 506 first preference votes, finishing last behind six other candidates.

In 2020, Mr Brodie announced that he would be founding a new party, Scotia Future, and would stand at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. It was unsuccessful, winning only 267 votes. 

He stood as an independent candidate in the Ayr East ward for South Ayrshire Council at the Scottish local government elections in May of this year, but after securing 232 first preference votes was elimiated at the sixth stage of counting.

Michael Russell, the president of the SNP, tweeted: “Sorry to hear this - Chic was always engaging & good company. 

"His own political journey to independence reflected how Scotland itself has changed over the last thirty years. Condolences to his family.”

Former Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said: “Chic was a colleague and friend at Holyrood for five years serving with me on a number of committees. Always well-intentioned and sometimes a bit of a maverick.

“Many an entertaining conversation we had. His wealth of business knowledge was second to none.”

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser added: “Very sad news. I worked closely with Chic on the economy, energy and tourism committee at Holyrood and always appreciated his insights and good humour.

“His famous exchange with Donald Trump became the stuff of legend.”

Mr Brodie was part of the committee when Trump appeared before it in 2012 and claimed the Scottish public hated wind farms.

Asked by Mr Brodie if he had any evidence for that claim, the future president replied: “I am the evidence.”

The politician - who had an Elvis-like quiff - later recalled: “I challenged him head on and it became known as the Battle of the Barnets.”

Nevertheless, the politician would soon become something of a supporter of the tycoon. 

When Mr Trump flew over to Scotland in the middle of the 2016 election campaign to open Turnberry, Mr Brodie was the only MSP in attendance. 

“To be fair, there was a mutual respect after that and we built up something of a relationship when he bought Turnberry," he said.

"His investment in this area and its young people has been nothing short of superb.”