Nicol Stephen, Baron Stephen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nicol Stephen)
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
The Lord Stephen
Nicol Stephen.jpg
Leader of Scottish Liberal Democrats
In office
27 June 2005 – 2 July 2008
Preceded by Jim Wallace
Succeeded by Tavish Scott
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
In office
27 June 2005 – 16 May 2007
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by Jim Wallace
Succeeded by Nicola Sturgeon
Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
In office
27 June 2005 – 16 May 2007
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by Jim Wallace
Succeeded by office abolished
Minister for Transport and Telecommunications
In office
21 May 2003 – 27 June 2005
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by office created
Succeeded by Tavish Scott
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Aberdeen South
In office
6 May 1999 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by constituency created
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 2,731 (9.1%)
Member of the UK Parliament
for Kincardine and Deeside
In office
7 November 1991 – 9 April 1992
Preceded by Alick Buchanan-Smith
Succeeded by George Kynoch
Majority 7,824 (5.9%)
Personal details
Born (1960-03-23) 23 March 1960 (age 54)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Caris Doig
Children Macleod, Mirrhyn, Mharni and Drummond
Alma mater University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh

Nicol Ross Stephen, Baron Stephen (born 23 March 1960) is a Scottish Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeen South, and was leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 2005 to 2008. He is a former Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

He became an MSP in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Following the coalition agreement between the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Labour in the Scottish Parliament, he became Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. Later in the same parliamentary term he became Deputy Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs, and then for Education and Young People. Following the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, he joined the Scottish Executive cabinet as Minister for Transport. In 2005, following the resignation of his predecessor Jim Wallace, he was elected leader of the party and also became Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. He led his party into the 2007 election, where they won 16 seats (down one on 2003). He resigned as party leader on 2 July 2008, triggering a leadership election. In 2011 he joined the House of Lords. He became a patron of The Aberdeen Law Project in 2011.

Background and family life[edit]

Born in Aberdeen,[1] he was educated at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen and at the University of Aberdeen, where he obtained an LLB in 1980. He then took his Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh School of Law and worked for a number of years as a solicitor before moving into corporate finance as a senior manager with Deloitte & Touche.

He was a former Chair of CREATE (a group campaigning for rail electrification between Aberdeen and Edinburgh); a chairperson of STAR (Save Tor-na-Dee Hospital and Roxburghe House); and the founder and director of Grampian Enterprise.

He is married with 4 children.[2]

Early political career[edit]

He was elected to Grampian Regional Council in 1982 (as Scotland's youngest councillor) and was Chair of Grampian's Economic Development and Planning Committee from 1986 to 1991.

He was briefly a Member of Parliament for the Kincardine and Deeside constituency, elected in the November 1991 by-election following the death of Conservative and Unionist Alick Buchanan-Smith. He was a member of the Liberal Democrat treasury team and spokesperson on small business during his time in the House of Commons. The seat returned to the Conservative and Unionist party at the 1992 general election, when it was won by George Kynoch.

He later stood for the Aberdeen South constituency in the 1997 election for Aberdeen South, but was defeated by the Scottish Labour candidate.[3]

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Minister and Deputy Minister roles[edit]

Stephen was elected as MSP for Aberdeen South in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament. He later helped negotiate the Partnership Agreement for the coalition government with the Labour Party.[4]

He later served in the Scottish Executive as Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning[5] (1999 to 2000), then as Deputy Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs (2000 to 2001),[6] and as Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (2001–2003).

Following the 2003 election, he was appointed Minister for Transport. During his time in this post, he was responsible for approving the controversial M74 extension.[7]

Deputy First Minister[edit]

Following the resignation of Jim Wallace in May 2005 as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Stephen announced his intention to stand for the leadership.[8] He defeated rival candidate, Mike Rumbles, who advocated ending the coalition agreement with the Scottish Labour Party, winning 76.6%, becoming the Deputy First Minister on 23 June 2005.[9] Following his leadership victory, a mini-reshuffle of the Scottish cabinet, saw him take on the role of Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.[10]

Opposition[edit]

Following the 2007 election, with the SNP emerging the largest party by one seat but short of an overall majority, it held discussions with the Scottish Green Party and also intimated that it would be open to discussions with the Liberal Democrats. However, since the Liberal Democrats had indicated that they would not enter discussions with parties which continued to favour a referendum on independence, no formal talks were held: the SNP became a minority administration and Stephen led his party to the opposition benches.

Despite being out of government, his party worked with the minority SNP Government on certain issues where they broadly agreed, including replacing the council tax with a local income tax to fund a proportion of local government revenue. He developed a reputation among some journalists as an effective and forceful critic of some aspects of the Scottish Government's policy and performance, especially at First Minister's Question Time.[11]

Along with Wendy Alexander and Annabel Goldie, he took his party into the Commission on Scottish Devolution chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman, but was opposed to any suggestion that this would result in powers of the Parliament being returned to Westminster.[12]

Resignation as Party Leader[edit]

On 2 July 2008, Stephen announced he was stepping down as party leader with immediate effect because of the pressures of leading a political party while having a young family based in Aberdeen, some distance from the Parliament in Edinburgh. Stephen's resignation took many in Scottish politics by surprise, and came only four days after the resignation of the former leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament, Wendy Alexander. He was succeeded by Tavish Scott.[13]

On 24 September 2010, Stephen announced he would not be standing again at the Scottish elections in May 2011.

House of Lords[edit]

On 2 February 2011, he was created a life peer as Baron Stephen, of Lower Deeside in the City of Aberdeen, and was introduced in the House of Lords on 7 February 2011,[14] where he sits on the Liberal Democrat benches. He said he will use his new position to help reform the House of Lords.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alick Buchanan-Smith
Member of Parliament for Kincardine and Deeside
19911992
Succeeded by
George Kynoch
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeen South
1999–2011
Succeeded by
Constituency Abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Wallace
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by
Jim Wallace
Minister for Enterpise and Lifelong Learning
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Office Abolished
Preceded by
Office Created
Minister for Transport
2003–2005
Succeeded by
Tavish Scott
Preceded by
Office Created
Deputy Minister for Education and Young People
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Euan Robson
Preceded by
Peter Peacock
Deputy Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs
2000–2001
Succeeded by
Office Abolished
Preceded by
Office Created
Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Alasdair Morrison
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Wallace
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
2005–2008
Succeeded by
Tavish Scott