Tom McNally, Baron McNally

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The Lord McNally

Official portrait of Lord McNally crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the Youth Justice Board
In office
March 2014 – March 2017
Appointed byChris Grayling
Preceded byFrances Done
Succeeded byCharlie Taylor [1]
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
In office
13 May 2010 – 15 October 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
LeaderThe Lord Strathclyde
The Lord Hill of Oareford
Preceded byLord Hunt of Kings Heath
Succeeded byLord Wallace of Tankerness
Minister of State for Justice
In office
13 May 2010 – 18 December 2013
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byMichael Wills
Succeeded bySimon Hughes
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
in the House of Lords
In office
24 November 2004 – 15 October 2013
LeaderCharles Kennedy
Sir Menzies Campbell
Vince Cable (acting)
Nick Clegg
Preceded byBaroness Williams of Crosby
Succeeded byLord Wallace of Tankerness
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
20 December 1995
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Stockport South
In office
3 May 1979 – 9 June 1983
Preceded byMaurice Orbach
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1943-02-20) 20 February 1943 (age 76)
Political partyLabour (Before 1981)
Social Democratic Party (1981–1988)
Liberal Democrats (1988–present)
Alma materUniversity College London

Tom McNally, Baron McNally, PC (born 20 February 1943) is a British politician and a former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

Early life[edit]

McNally was born in Blackpool of Irish Catholic descent and attended St Joseph's College, Blackpool. He later attended University College London, where he was elected president of the Debating Society as well as University College London Union President.[2]

Professional career[edit]

He later worked for the Fabian Society, and then as a full-time employee of the Labour Party, becoming its international secretary.[3] He served as a political advisor to Foreign Secretary, James Callaghan during the conflict in Cyprus in the 1970s, before becoming head of the Prime Minister's political office at Downing Street in 1976 when Callaghan succeeded Harold Wilson.[4]

Political career[edit]

Elected to the House of Commons in 1979 as a member of the Labour Party for the constituency of Stockport South, in 1981 he was one of the later defectors to the new Social Democratic Party. Following constituency boundary changes for the 1983 general election McNally was the SDP candidate for the new constituency of Stockport, but finished in third place behind Labour and the Conservative victor, Tony Favell.

From 1993 he was Head of Public Affairs at Shandwick Consultants, and later non-executive Vice-Chairman of its successor Weber Shandwick.[4]

On 18 November 1995 it was announced McNally would receive a life peerage.[5] The Letters Patent were issued on 20 December and he took the title Baron McNally, of Blackpool in the County of Lancashire.[6]

After being elected unopposed to succeed Baroness Williams of Crosby, he took office as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords at the beginning of the 2004/05 session of Parliament.[7]

In January 2006, McNally was linked to the resignation of Charles Kennedy as leader of the Liberal Democrats, with critical comments regarding Kennedy's leadership of the party, and the effect that infighting was having on their electoral prospects in the upcoming local elections in May.[citation needed] McNally criticised Kennedy, suggesting that his style and content were lacklustre.[citation needed] Also in January 2006, McNally revealed in an interview that he had himself been alcohol dependent in the 1980s.[8] He said, "I don't think the passing of a more boozy, ill-disciplined, ill-researched type of politics is to be regretted at all."[8]

He has been President of the Stockport Liberal Democrat Constituency Party since 2007. In May 2010, following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, Lord McNally was appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, under Kenneth Clarke.[9]

In 2012 McNally justified the absence of an official pardon of mathematician Alan Turing on indecency charges, saying that Turing was rightly prosecuted under the UK's 1950s laws.[10]

On 2 October 2013, Lord McNally announced he would be stepping down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, saying it had been "an enormous privilege to serve as Leader of a Group which, by its discipline and cohesiveness has constantly punched above its weight".[11]

Lord McNally resigned as Minister of State for Justice on 18 December 2013 following his appointment as Chair of the Youth Justice Board.[12] He is a Vice-President of the Debating Group.[13]


Lord McNally is married with two sons and one daughter.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Youth Justice Board website". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ Who's Who
  3. ^ United Kingdom. "BBC Democracy Live: Lord McNally biography". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "The Rt Hon Lord McNally - Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords)". The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  5. ^ "No. 54217". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 November 1995. p. 15659.
  6. ^ "No. 54252". The London Gazette. 28 December 1995. p. 17450.
  7. ^ "Dire election prophecies fail to make my flesh creep". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Lib Dem Lord's alcohol confession". BBC News. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  9. ^ Glendinning, Lee (13 May 2010). "Full list of new cabinet ministers and other government appointments". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  10. ^ Ellis, Philip. "Happy 100th Birthday, Alan Turing". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Tom McNally to stand down as Leader of the Lib Dem Lords". Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Ministerial changes: December 2013". 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Debating Group". Debating Group. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Maurice Orbach
Member of Parliament for Stockport South
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
Succeeded by
The Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Party political offices
Preceded by
Shirley Williams
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
Succeeded by
Jim Wallace
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Baron McNally
Followed by
The Lord Sewel