John Thurso

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Thurso
John Thurso MP at Bournemouth 2009.jpg
of the Finance and Services Committee
In office
6 May 2010 – 8 May 2015
Preceded by Sir Stuart Bell
Succeeded by TBC
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
In office
7 June 2001 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Robert Maclennan
Succeeded by Paul Monaghan
Majority 4,826 (16.8%)
Member of Parliament
for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
In office
7 June 2001 – 7 May 2015
Preceded by Robert Maclennan
Succeeded by Paul Monaghan
Personal details
Born John Archibald Sinclair
(1953-09-10) 10 September 1953 (age 62)
Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, UK
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Marion Sage (present Viscountess Thurso)
Children 1 daughter, 2 sons
Alma mater Eton
Religion Episcopalian
Insignia of Baronet

John Archibald Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso, PC (born 10 September 1953), known as John Thurso, is a Scottish businessman, Liberal Democrat politician and a baronet.[1]

Thurso was Member of Parliament (MP) for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross from the 2001 election until he was defeated in the 2015 election by SNP candidate Paul Monaghan. He was the fifth generation of the Sinclair family to represent the Caithness area in the House of Commons.

Education, family and non-political career[edit]

Eton College Chapel

John Sinclair was educated in Thurso and at Eton College. Thurso joined the Savoy Group as a management trainee in 1972 and following this worked for many years in the hospitality industry. He was a manager at the Lancaster Hotel in Paris (1981–85) and founding the hotel at Cliveden (1985–92) before becoming CEO of Granfel Holdings, owners of East Sussex National Golf Course from 1992 to 1995. Finally from 1995 until his election to parliament in 2001 he was CEO of the Champneys Group. During his time in this job he featured in the TV documentary Trouble at the Top - Shape up with Lord Thurso.

Lord Thurso comes from a family of Liberal parliamentarians. The former constituency of Caithness and Sutherland had been held by his grandfather, Archibald Sinclair from 1922 until 1945. Archibald Sinclair was the 1st Viscount Thurso and a Liberal Party leader. Thurso has been married to Marion for 26 years and they have a daughter and two sons. The family live at Thurso, Caithness.

Thurso holds the Presidency of The Tourism Society[2] and the Academy of Food and Wine Service.[3] He is a Fellow of Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (HCIMA) (FIH) and served as its Patron for six years, until June 2003. He was President of the British International Spa Association,[4] a Trustee of the Clan Sinclair Trust, and Patron of the Bluebell Railway 50th Anniversary Appeal.[citation needed]

In that capacity, on 24 April 2009, at the railway's Horsted Keynes station he carried out the ceremonial renaming of the Battle of Britain class locomotive named after his grandfather, Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air during that battle.[5]

Political career[edit]

Following his father’s death in 1995 he took his seat in the House of Lords as the 3rd Viscount Thurso where he became spokesman on Tourism and later Food Matters. Thurso spoke many times in the House of Lords in favour of Lords reform. His automatic right as a hereditary peer to sit in the House of Lords was abolished in 1999, and he did not attempt to remain in that capacity.[6] At the 2001 general election he was elected to the House of Commons to represent Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross becoming the first British hereditary peer elected to sit in the House of Commons without having to disclaim his title.[6]

He served as Liberal Democrat Shadow Scotland Secretary under Charles Kennedy,[7] but was sacked by Sir Menzies Campbell. He has publicly gone against party policy by declaring his support for nuclear power,[8] and his criticism of 24-hour drinking and wind power.

Lord Thurso was sworn of the Privy Council in 2014.[9]


Arms of John Thurso
A Viscount's coronet
A Star of six points waved Argent rising from a Cloud Proper
Quarterly: 1st, Azure a Ship at anchor her Oars erect in saltire within the Royal Tressure Or; 2nd and 3rd, Or a Lion rampant Gules; 4th, Azure a Ship under sail Or; over all dividing the quarters a Cross engrailed quarterly Argent and Sable all within a Bordure quartered Or and Gules the Last charged with three Stars of the First
On either side a Red Deer Proper
Above the Crest: Ad Astra Virtus (Virtue knows no bounds); below the Arms: J'Aime Le Meilleur (I love the best)
Sinclair hunting tartan (ancient)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed 8 May 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "BISA Council and Associates". Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. 
  5. ^ Profile; accessed 8 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b Parkinson, Justin (22 February 2011). "John Thurso: The hereditary peer who became an MP". BBC News. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Uncredited (3 November 2001). "Kennedy boosts his frontbench team". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 December 2011. One of the notable changes was the promotion of new MP Lord John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) to the Scottish affairs brief. 
  8. ^ Edwards, Rob (5 March 2006). "Nuclear power: splitting the LibDems and Labour". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2011. Leaked correspondence from shadow Scottish secretary John Thurso MP, who favours nuclear power, suggests pressure is mounting within the party to reverse this policy. 
  9. ^ Lord Thurso was sworn of the Privy Council in 2014,; accessed 8 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Maclennan
Member of Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Succeeded by
Paul Monaghan
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robin MacDonald Sinclair
Viscount Thurso