David Maclean

Last updated

The Right Honourable
The Lord Blencathra
Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Commons
In office
18 September 2001 7 December 2005
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard
Preceded by James Arbuthnot
Succeeded by Patrick McLoughlin
Minister of State for Home Affairs
In office
27 May 1993 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Michael Jack
Succeeded by Alun Michael
Minister of State for Environment and Countryside
In office
14 April 1992 27 May 1993
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by David Trippier
Succeeded by Tim Yeo
Member of Parliament
for Penrith and The Border
In office
29 July 1983 12 April 2010
Preceded by William Whitelaw
Succeeded by Rory Stewart
Personal details
Born (1953-05-16) 16 May 1953 (age 65)
Cromarty, Scotland
Political party Conservative
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
Website Official website

David John Maclean, Baron Blencathra, PC (born 16 May 1953) is a Conservative Party life peer. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Penrith and The Border from 1983 to 2010.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. Presently led by Theresa May, it has been the governing party since 2010. It presently has 314 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 249 members of the House of Lords, and 18 members of the European Parliament. It also has 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 9,008 local councillors. One of the major parties of UK politics, it has formed the government on 45 occasions, more than any other party.

In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the peerage whose titles cannot be inherited, in contrast to hereditary peers. In modern times, life peerages, always created at the rank of baron, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as age and citizenship. The legitimate children of a life peer are entitled to style themselves with the prefix "The Honourable", although they cannot inherit the peerage itself.


Early and later life

Born in Scotland, Maclean was educated at Fortrose Academy, Fortrose, and at the University of Aberdeen. MacLean has multiple sclerosis. He uses a wheelchair. [1]

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Fortrose town

Fortrose is a town and former royal burgh in the Scottish Highlands. It is on the Moray Firth, about 6 miles (9.7 km) north-east of Inverness. The town is known for its ruined 13th century cathedral, and as the home of the Brahan Seer. In the Middle Ages it was the seat of the bishopric of Ross, and formerly called Chanonry, for being the Chanory of Ross. The cathedral was largely demolished in the mid-seventeenth century by Oliver Cromwell to provide building materials for a citadel at Inverness. The vaulted south aisle, with bell-tower, and a detached chapter house remain. These fragments, though modest in scale, display considerable architectural refinement, and are in the care of Historic Scotland. The burgh is a popular location for trying to spot bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth.

University of Aberdeen university in Aberdeen, Scotland

The University of Aberdeen is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to establish King's College, making it Scotland's third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. Today, Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and is ranked within the top 30 universities in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen was also named the 2019 Scottish University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Parliamentary career

After unsuccessfully contesting Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber at the 1983 general election, he was elected to the House of Commons in a by-election seven weeks later, following the ennoblement of William Whitelaw.

Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1983 to 1997. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first-past-the-post system of election.

House of Commons of the United Kingdom lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

In Margaret Thatcher's government, Maclean served as a government whip from 1987 to 1989, when he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, retaining the position when John Major took over as Prime Minister in 1990.

Margaret Thatcher former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her "The 'Iron Lady'", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies known as Thatcherism.

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring that members of the party vote according to the party platform, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents.

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (United Kingdom) former agriculture ministry of United Kingdom

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was a United Kingdom government department created by the Board of Agriculture Act 1889 and at that time called the Board of Agriculture, and then from 1903 the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and from 1919 the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It attained its final name in 1955 with the addition of responsibilities for the British food industry to the existing responsibilities for agriculture and the fishing industry, a name that lasted until the Ministry was dissolved in 2002, at which point its responsibilities had been merged into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

After the 1992 general election, he was promoted to Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, and in 1993, he was moved to the post of Minister of State at the Home Office, a position he held until the Conservative Party's defeat at the 1997 general election. He turned down an offer to join the Cabinet, probably as Minister for Agriculture, in 1995, stating that he was 'a round peg in a round hole'.

Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a "Minister of State" is a junior minister, who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister and the ministers of state with independent charges. In other countries a "Minister of State" is a holder of a more senior position, such as a cabinet minister or even a head of government.

Under William Hague's leadership in opposition, he returned to the backbenches until 2001, when the new leader Iain Duncan Smith promoted him to opposition Chief Whip. When Duncan Smith lost a vote of confidence in 2003, Maclean tendered his resignation but was reappointed to the position under new leader Michael Howard. He returned to the back benches when David Cameron was elected as leader in 2005.

William Hague British politician

William Jefferson Hague, Baron Hague of Richmond, is a British Conservative politician and life peer. He represented Richmond, Yorkshire, as its Member of Parliament (MP) from 1989 to 2015 and was the Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2001. He was Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2010 to 2014 and was the Leader of the House of Commons from 2014 to 2015.

In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a Member of Parliament (MP) or a legislator who holds no governmental office and is not a frontbench spokesman in the Opposition, being instead simply a member of the "rank and file". The term dates from 1855. The term derives from the fact that they sit physically behind the frontbench in the House of Commons. A backbencher may be a new parliamentary member yet to receive high office, a senior figure dropped from government, someone who for whatever reason is not chosen to sit either in the ministry or the opposition Shadow Ministry, or someone who prefers to be a background influence, not in the spotlight. By extension, those who are not reliable supporters of all of their party's goals and policies and have resigned or been forced to resign may be relegated to the back benches. For example, Clive Lewis becoming a backbencher after resigning from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet over Brexit.

Iain Duncan Smith British politician

George Iain Duncan Smith, often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British Conservative Party politician. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2010 to 2016, he was previously the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2001 to 2003. He was first elected to Parliament at the 1992 general election as the MP for Chingford—which he represented until the constituency's abolition in 1997—and he has since represented its successor constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green.

During the 2005 general election and since, he has worked extensively with the pro hunting group Vote-OK, with the aim of returning a Conservative Government in order to have the Hunting Act 2004 repealed.

Maclean made the headlines in 2007, when he proposed a private members bill that would have exempted the Houses of Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act. The bill proved controversial, with the government unofficially supporting the bill.

Maclean said that "My bill is necessary to give an absolute guarantee that the correspondence of members of parliament, on behalf of our constituents and others, to a public authority remains confidential." [2] The Bill was passed by the House of Commons on 18 May 2007, but has so far failed to find a sponsor in the House of Lords.

A report by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, published on 20 June 2007, said the Bill "does not meet the requirements of caution and proportionality in enacting legislation of constitutional importance."

In its report the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the Commons said "we have been sent no evidence indicating a need for such an exemption or that existing protections for constituents' correspondence were inadequate." Gordon Brown's green paper on constitutional reform, 'The Governance of Britain', says "It is right that Parliament should be covered by the Act", indicating that the Bill's main proposal will not become law.

On 26 June 2009, Maclean told his constituency Conservative Association that he would not stand at the following election, because of worsening multiple sclerosis. [3]

Expenses claims

Maclean was reported in The Daily Telegraph as having spent more than £20,000 improving his farmhouse under the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) scheme before selling it for £750,000. He claimed the money by designating the property as his “second home” with the Commons authorities, yet Maclean did not pay capital gains tax on the sale because the taxman accepted it was his main home. [4]

Maclean was one of 98 MPs who voted to keep their expense details secret. [5]

House of Lords

On 28 February 2011, Maclean was created a life peer, as Baron Blencathra, of Penrith in the County of Cumbria , [6] and he was introduced in the House of Lords on 10 March 2011, [7] where he sits as a Conservative. In 2010, Maclean was played by Sam Graham, in the television film On Expenses . Four years later he was found to have breached the Code of Conduct of the Lords in his dealings with the government of the Cayman Islands. [8]

Styles of address

See also

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  1. Mp, Conservative (17 October 2002). "David Maclean". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. MPs make themselves exempt from FOI
  3. Whittle, Julian (27 June 2009). "Cumbria MP Maclean to bow out at general election". News and Star. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  4. Hennessy, Patrick; Kite, Melissa (16 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: cash secrets of MPs who tried to stop you seeing their expenses". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  5. "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  6. "No. 59717". The London Gazette . 3 March 2011. p. 3923.
  7. "House of Lords Minute of Proceedings for Thursday, 10 March 2010" . Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  8. "Out of sorts". London Evening Standard . 14 July 2014. p. 4.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Whitelaw
Member of Parliament
for Penrith and The Border

Succeeded by
Rory Stewart
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Jack
Minister of State for Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Alun Michael
Preceded by
James Arbuthnot
Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Patrick McLoughlin
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Arbuthnot
Conservative Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Patrick McLoughlin