Blog: John Purvis, Scottish Tory MEP and ardent Europhile who shaped EU policy on GM food – obituary – The Telegraph

John Purvis, who has died aged 83, represented Mid-Scotland and Fife for the Conservatives in the first elected European Parliament, lost his seat in 1984, but returned 15 years later to serve two further terms as one of Scotland’s seven MEPs.

With farming and property interests in North East Fife and extensive knowledge of the international financial services industry, Purvis’s expertise proved valuable in the work of the Parliament.

During his 15 years as an MEP, he produced several reports that helped shape EU policy, notably on biotechnology (supporting GM foods), telecommunications and financial regulation.

Early on, he worked on the Parliament’s Internal Market subcommittee with his fellow Tory Basil de Ferranti to propose harmonised standards across a wide range of goods. Their work would form the basis of the 1985 Single European Act.

Chairman of Fife4Europe and a fervent opponent of Brexit, Purvis had since last November been co-president of the European Movement in Scotland with the SNP’s Mike Russell. After the referendum vote to leave the EU, he worked with Fife’s MPs to make sure every EU citizen living there could obtain “settled status” and remain.

His death brought tributes not only from the Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross but from Nationalist and Liberal Democrat MSPs, who mourned him as “relentlessly polite” and a man of principle.

John Robert Purvis was born at St Andrews on July 6 1938, the eldest son of Lt-Col RWB Purvis MC, a local farmer, and his wife who sat with him as a magistrate.

Schooled at Glenalmond, he was commissioned into the Scots Guards for National Service in 1956, then read Moral Philosophy and Political Economy at St Andrews University.

Graduating in 1962, he went into banking with First National City Bank in London, New York and Milan, then in 1969 moved to Edinburgh to become treasurer at Noble Grossart.

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