Malcolm Bruce

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The Right Honourable[1]
Sir Malcolm Bruce
MP
Malcolm Bruce, September 2009 cropped.jpg
Bruce at a Health Hotel session during the 2009 Liberal Democrat Party Conference
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Incumbent
Assumed office
28 January 2014
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by Simon Hughes
Chair of the Liberal Democrats
In office
9 August 1999 – 7 June 2001
Leader Charles Kennedy
Succeeded by Mark Oaten
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
In office
3 March 1988 – 18 April 1992
Preceded by Russell Johnston
Succeeded by Jim Wallace
Member of Parliament
for Gordon
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Majority 6,748 (14%)
Personal details
Born (1944-11-17) 17 November 1944 (age 70)
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Veronica Wilson (1969-1992)
Rosemary Vetterlein (1998-)
Children 5
Alma mater University of St Andrews, University of Strathclyde

Sir Malcolm Gray Bruce, PC (born 17 November 1944) is a Scottish Liberal Democrat politician.

He is the Member of Parliament for Gordon and has been the chairman of the International Development Select Committee since 2005.[2][3] He has been deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats since January 28 2014.

Early life[edit]

Bruce was born in Birkenhead, he was educated at Wrekin College in Shropshire, England, prior to attending Queen's College (now the University of Dundee) at the University of St Andrews,[4] where he received a degree in economics and political science, and Strathclyde University where he received a second degree in marketing. He was a trainee journalist with the Liverpool Post for a year from 1966 prior to him becoming a section buyer with the Boots Group in 1967. After a brief spell with A. Goldberg & Son, he was appointed in 1971 as a research and information officer with the North East Scotland Development Agency. He contested the parliamentary seat of North Angus and Mearns for the Liberal Party at the October 1974 general election, but the sitting Conservative and Unionist MP Alick Buchanan-Smith won with a majority of 2,551.

Career[edit]

Bruce was elected as the Vice Chairman of the Scottish Liberal Party in 1975, in the same year he became a director with the Norboil Publishing House. He again stood for Parliament at the 1979 general election for the seat of Aberdeenshire West and was again defeated by a sitting Conservative and Unionist MP, this time by Russell Fairgrieve by 2,766 votes. Bruce became the editor of the Aberdeen Petroleum Press in 1981 until his election as MP for Gordon in 1983.

He was called to the bar at the Gray's Inn in 1995.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Bruce stood for parliament for a third time at the newly created seat of Gordon, based largely on the former Aberdeenshire West. Fairgrieve retired, and at the 1983 general election he was very narrowly elected and became the Liberal MP for Gordon with a majority of just 850, and has held the seat for more than twenty-five years. He is politically moderate, an outspoken opponent of coalition with the Labour Party.[5]

When he was elected to parliament, Bruce served on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, and in 1986 was given a job by David Steel as a Spokesman on Energy and Scotland. He also became Rector of the University of Dundee in 1986 for three years. After the 1987 general election, at which Bruce's majority had increased to 9,519, he was briefly a spokesman on Education, before speaking on Trade and Industry later in 1987. After the amalgamation of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party and the formation of the Liberal Democrats he became the new party's Energy spokesman and at the same time became the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats under the new leadership of Paddy Ashdown. In 1989 he was appointed as the Environment spokesman, before having the Scotland portfolio after 1990.

After the 1992 general election, at which he narrowly held Gordon by just 274 votes, he again became the Trade and Industry spokesman. By 1994 he had become the Treasury spokesman. Whilst a Treasury spokesman it was Bruce who developed the idea of a 'penny on income tax'. At the 1997 general election Bruce's majority had risen again to 6,997. The Liberal Democrats had 46 MPs, more than they have had since before the 1920s. Paddy Ashdown created a new Shadow Cabinet system and Bruce became the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. When Ashdown stood down in 1999 he contested the leadership of the party but came in third place. In 1999, under the new leadership of Charles Kennedy, became the Chairman of the Liberal Democrats until 2001, and since 2000 has been the president of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Bruce won Gordon for the fifth consecutive time at the 2001 general election with a still rising majority of 7,879. Following his re-election, Bruce became the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 2003. He stood down from the frontbench following the 2005 general election, where he was re-elected with his highest majority yet at 11,026. He is currently the Chairman of the International Development Committee. As the Chair of the International Development Select Committee since 2005, he has been scrutinising the work of the Department of International Development.

He was made a Member of the Privy Council on 19 July 2006.

He was knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for public and political service.[6]

On 2 September 2013 he announced that he would not seek re-election as an MP at the 2015 General Election.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He married Veronica Jane Wilson in 1969 and they have a son and a daughter, but they divorced in 1992. Bruce remarried in 1998 to Rosemary Vetterlein, herself a Liberal Democrat politician, who had unsuccessfully contested the Beckenham seat in 1997. They have two daughters and a son together. He takes a keen interest in deaf issues; one of his children is deaf.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Gordon
1983–present
Incumbent
Academic offices
Preceded by
Gordon Wilson
Rector of the University of Dundee
1986–1989
Succeeded by
Paul Henderson Scott
Party political offices
Preceded by
Russell Johnston
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
1988–1992
Succeeded by
Jim Wallace
Preceded by
Alan Beith?
Chair of the Liberal Democrats
1999–2001
Succeeded by
Mark Oaten
Preceded by
Roy Hendry Thomson
President of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
2000–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Simon Hughes
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
2014–present
Incumbent