Calum MacDonald (politician)

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Calum MacDonald
Member of Parliament
for Western Isles
In office
11 June 1987 – 11 April 2005
Preceded by Donald Stewart
Succeeded by Angus MacNeil
Personal details
Born (1956-05-07) 7 May 1956 (age 61)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Edinburgh, University of California, Los Angeles

Calum Alistair MacDonald or Calum Alasdair Domhnallach (born 7 May 1956, Stornoway) was Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for the Western Isles from 1987 until he was defeated by Angus MacNeil of the Scottish National Party at the 2005 general election.

Early life[edit]

He was born on 7 May 1956 and grew up on the Isle of Lewis. Educated at the Bayble School in Point, Outer Hebrides and Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, he went on to graduate from the University of Edinburgh with MA Honours in History and Politics.

During the 1980s, MacDonald was a Teaching Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for three years where he also gained his PhD in Political Philosophy. He returned to the UK to help out with the family kitchen and bathroom fittings business.

His political interests are wide-ranging. MacDonald’s published journalism (The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Glasgow Herald and the New Statesman) include articles on: Northern Ireland; the Balkans; Russia; links between Labour and the Liberal Democrats; Voting Reform; the Debate on Clause IV, etc. He was an early advocate of European defence co-operation, in "A New Model Army" (Fabian Discussion Paper, 1991) and "European Security at the Crossroads" (in B Crawford and P Schulze, Ed, European Dilemmas after Maastricht, Centre for German and European Studies UC Berkeley, 1993).

In 1990, he co-founded the Future of Europe Trust, which acted as a forum for young politicians across Eastern and Western Europe to progress their views on Europe. Between 1988-1992 he served on the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture. In 1991, he piloted his own Private Members Bill through the House of Commons, the Crofter Forestry Act, which has since led to the planting of mixed woodland by crofter communities in the Highlands and Islands.

Between 1991-95, he was a leading campaigner for Western military intervention in the former Yugoslavia and a persistent critic of the-then Government’s policy.

Between 1992-97, he was Chair of LINC, a Labour Party pressure group promoting co-operation with the Liberal Democrats.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In May 1997, he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Between December 1997 and July 1999, he was Minister for Housing, Planning and European Affairs at the Scottish Office. Between July 1998 and July 1999, he had additional responsibilities for Transport, Highlands and Islands and Gaelic. In his capacity as Minister for Gaelic, he gave the 1998 Sabhal Mòr Lecture.

A europhile, MacDonald was one of only five Labour MPs to vote for the Third Reading of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, defying his party Whip, which was to abstain.[1]

MacDonald is a former Chair of the Fabian Society, the Labour Party’s senior think-tank. He is an Honorary Fellow of the European Economics and Financial Centre.

MacDonald Voted with the Conservative government at the time in favour of the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) in British law.

After parliament[edit]

On 1 April 2006 he was appointed as a non-executive Commissioner for Scotland for the Forestry Commission for a three-year term.[2]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Donald Stewart
Member of Parliament for Western Isles
Succeeded by
Angus MacNeil
(constituency renamed as Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tony Wright
Chair of the Fabian Society
1999 – 2000
Succeeded by
Gordon Marsden