Although she lost the seat in the 1970 General Election, her high profile at Westminster boosted SNP membership and was thought to have been a factor in the Labour Government’s decision to set up the Kilbrandon Commission to examine the case for constitutional change and a devolved assembly.
After returning to legal practice, in 1974 she stood for, and won the Moray and Nairn seat for the SNP in the first of two General Elections that year. She held the seat in the second 1974 election, being joined by another 10 SNP MPs.
She took up one of the seats allocated to Britain at the unelected European Parliament, which confirmed her conviction in the importance of the European developments, and won the Highlands and Islands seat for the elected European Parliament in 1979. She held the seat for 20 years, earning the title 'Madame Ecosse' that she turned from a jibe to a source of pride.
n 1999 she gave up her European seat to stand for the new Scottish Parliament, again representing the Highlands and Islands. As the oldest member, she was the first to be sworn in and took the chair.