Betty Harvie Anderson, Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter

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Margaret Betty Harvie Anderson, Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter
Member of Parliament
for East Renfrewshire
In office
8 October 1959 – 2 May 1979
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Preceded by Guy Lloyd
Succeeded by Allan Stewart
Personal details
Born Harvie Anderson
(1913-08-12)12 August 1913
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 7 November 1979(1979-11-07) (aged 66)
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) John Francis Penrose Skrimshire (m. 1960)

Margaret Betty Harvie Anderson, Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter, OBE, PC, TD, DL (12 August 1913 – 7 November 1979) was a British Conservative Party politician.

Early life[edit]

Harvie Anderson was born in Glasgow on 12 August 1913 to Thomas Alexander Harvie Anderson and his wife Nessie Harvie Anderson (née Shearer).[1][2] She was educated at St Leonards School, an independent school in St Andrews.[1]

Military service[edit]

In 1938, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).[2] She was commissioned into the ATS as a company commander (equivalent in rank to captain) on 21 December 1938.[3] When the ATS reorganised and granted full military status in 1941, she was made a second subaltern (equivalent in rank to a second lieutenant) on 30 May.[4] See saw active service on the Home Front during World War II, including a posting to the River Forth during the German air raids.[1] From 1942 to 1943, she was senior commander (equivalent in rank to major) of a Mixed Heavy Anti-aircraft Regiment.[2] She was ultimately appointed chief commander (equivalent in rank to lieutenant colonel) of a mixed anti-aircraft brigade. She held the post until she left the ATS in 1946.[1]

Political career[edit]

In November 1945, Harvie Anderson was elected to Stirlingshire County Council. In 1953, she became leader of the Moderate Group.[1]

Harvie Anderson stood for parliament for West Stirlingshire in 1950 and 1951 and in Sowerby in 1955.[2] She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1956.[5] She was Member of Parliament (MP) for Renfrewshire East from 1959 to 1979. Although Betty Boothroyd was the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, Harvie Anderson was the first woman to sit in the Speaker's Chair as a Deputy Speaker (Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) from 1970 to 1973.[6] In the 1970s Harvie Anderson helped turn Conservative Party policy against Scottish Devolution which she regarded as a threat to the future of the United Kingdom.[7] She retired as an MP in 1979.[1]

Harvie Anderson was given a life peerage in the 1979 Birthday Honours.[8] She took the unusual title of Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter, of Dunipace in the District of Falkirk, made up of her husband's surname and the estate she owned in Scotland.[9]

On 7 November 1979, within a week of her introduction to the House of Lords, she died suddenly having suffered an asthma attack.[1][6]

Personal life[edit]

On 5 May 1960, Harvie Anderson married John Francis Penrose Skrimshire a medical doctor and heart specialist. They had no children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Sutherland, Duncan (May 2008). "Anderson, (Margaret) Betty Harvie, Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter (1913–1979)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Baroness Skrimshire". The Times. 14 November 1979. p. 14. 
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 34819". The London Gazette. 26 March 1940. pp. 1833–1837. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "(Supplement) no. 35216". The London Gazette. 8 July 1941. p. 3978. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "(Supplement) no. 40669". The London Gazette. 2 January 1956. p. 12. 
  6. ^ a b "Baroness Skrimshire". The Times. 1 December 1979. p. 14. 
  7. ^ Kenneth Baxter (2011). "Chapter Nine: Identity, Scottish Women and Parliament 1918-1979". In Campbell, Jodi A; Ewan, Elizabeth; Parker, Heather. The Shaping of Scottish Identities: Family, Nation and the Worlds Beyond. Guelph, Ontario: Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-88955-589-1. 
  8. ^ "(Supplement) no. 47888". The London Gazette. 26 June 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "no. 47969". The London Gazette. 4 October 1979. p. 12417. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Guy Lloyd
Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire
Succeeded by
Allan Stewart