|The Right Honourable
The Lord Blencathra
|Opposition Chief Whip|
18 September 2001 – 7 December 2005
|Leader||Iain Duncan Smith
|Preceded by||James Arbuthnot|
|Succeeded by||Patrick McLoughlin|
|Member of Parliament
for Penrith and The Border
28 July 1983 – 6 May 2010
|Preceded by||William Whitelaw|
|Succeeded by||Rory Stewart|
16 May 1953 |
Cromarty, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
Educated at Fortrose Academy, Fortrose, The Black Isle, Highland, and at the University of Aberdeen, he was elected to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1983 following the ennoblement of William Whitelaw. MacLean has multiple sclerosis.
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. 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'.
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.
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pro-hunting group Vote-OK, with the aim of returning a Conservative government in order to have the Hunting Act 2004 repealed.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." 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 28 February 2011, Maclean was created a life peer as Baron Blencathra, of Penrith in the County of Cumbria, and he was introduced in the House of Lords on 10 March 2011, where he sits as a Conservative.
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.
MacLean was one of 98 MPs who voted to keep their expense details secret.
- Mp, Conservative (17 October 2002). "David Maclean". BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- MPs make themselves exempt from FOI
- Whittle, Julian (27 June 2009). "Cumbria MP Maclean to bow out at general election". News and Star. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- "House of Lords Minute of Proceedings for Thursday, 10 March 2010". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- 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.
- "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times (London). 20 May 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010.