John Maxton

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The Lord Maxton
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Cathcart
In office
3 May 1979 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Teddy Taylor
Succeeded by Tom Harris
Personal details
Born (1936-05-05) 5 May 1936 (age 80)
Nationality British
Political party Labour

John Alston Maxton, Baron Maxton (born 5 May 1936) is a Scottish Labour Party politician. From 1979 to 2001 he was a backbench Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons.

He is a nephew of the former Independent Labour Party leader and World War I conscientious objector, James Maxton. His father, also John Maxton, was also a conscientious objector in World War I, and the younger John Maxton was himself a conscientious objector 1955-57, working on building sites and in farming. He subsequently attended University College, Oxford.

Political career[edit]

He joined the Labour Party in 1970 and became a prominent campaigner as Vice Chairman of the group Scottish Labour Against the Market during the 1975 referendum on Britain's continuing membership of the Common Market. He was selected to oppose the sitting MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Teddy Taylor, at the 1979 election in the Glasgow Cathcart seat. The changing demographics of the area and Labour's increasing popularity in Scotland made it a winnable seat, and Maxton's victory was made more likely by the Conservative Party's strident opposition to the Scottish National Party, which drove some of its voters back to Labour.

Maxton was the only Labour candidate at that election to gain a seat won by the Conservatives at the previous general election. In Parliament he allied with the left in the Tribune Group, and voted against the Falklands War. In 1983 his constituency was redrawn to his disadvantage, but Maxton ruled out a move to any neighbouring and more favourable areas; he therefore notionally gained his seat from the Conservatives again in the 1983 election. Maxton was a popular backbench figure but did not obtain much support when he stood for election to the Labour Shadow Cabinet. He was Labour's Scottish Whip in 1985[1] and a spokesman on Scottish Affairs from 1985 to 1992.

He stood down from Parliament at the 2001 general election and was given a life peerage on 17 June 2004, as Baron Maxton, of Blackwaterfoot in Ayrshire and Arran.[2]


  1. ^ Scottish Government Yearbook 1986, page 13.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 57334. p. 7753. 22 June 2004.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Teddy Taylor
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart
Succeeded by
Tom Harris