Mike Watson, Baron Watson of Invergowrie

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The Lord Watson of Invergowrie
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Cathcart
In office
6 May 1999 – 22 September 2005
Preceded by New Parliament
Succeeded by Charlie Gordon
Member of the UK Parliament
for Glasgow Central
In office
15 June 1989 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Bob McTaggart
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1949-05-01) 1 May 1949 (age 66)
Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire
Political party Scottish Labour Party
Alma mater Heriot-Watt University

Michael Goodall Watson, Baron Watson of Invergowrie (born 1 May 1949), known as Mike Watson, is a British Labour Party politician. He has sat in three legislatures in the United Kingdom and served as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport in the Scottish Executive Cabinet.

Watson was expelled from his party on 22 September 2005 following his conviction and imprisonment for fire-raising at Prestonfield House, but was re-admitted to the Labour party in July 2012.[1] He currently sits as a Labour member of the House of Lords[2] and is an Associate Director of the Edinburgh public affairs and communications company Caledonia Consulting.

Early life[edit]

Mike Watson was born in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, but his family moved to Invergowrie, Perth and Kinross when he was very young. He was educated at Invergowrie Primary School, the High School of Dundee and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, graduating with a B.A. Hons in Economics and Industrial Relations in 1974.

Prior to entering politics Watson worked as a tutor/organiser for the Workers' Educational Association and in the trade union movement, for the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs (ASTMS) and the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union (MSF).

In politics[edit]

Watson was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow Central at a by-election in 1989, following the death of Bob McTaggart MP. He was re-elected in the 1992 election and represented that constituency until it was abolished in 1997. He sought the nomination from the Labour party to run for the Govan seat at the 1997 election, but after initially winning the nomination by one vote, he lost a re-run to Mohammad Sarwar.

In 1997 he received a Life peerage as Baron Watson of Invergowrie, of Invergowrie in Perth and Kinross.

In 1999 Lord Watson was elected to the Scottish Parliament to represent the Glasgow Cathcart constituency and was re-elected in 2003. On 20 July 1999 Watson announced his intention to introduce the Protection of Wild Mammals bill as a member's bill to the Scottish Parliament to outlaw fox hunting. The bill passed a vote 83 – 26 on 13 February 2002 and received Royal Assent on 15 March, becoming the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 and becoming law on 1 August. This was a precursor to the Hunting Act 2004 banning fox hunting in England and Wales.

When Jack McConnell became First Minister in 2001, Watson entered the Scottish Executive as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, until the 2003 election.

Fire-raising conviction[edit]

On 15 November 2004, Lord Watson was charged with two counts of "wilful fire-raising" after a private reception at Edinburgh's Prestonfield Hotel following the Scottish Politician of the Year awards on 12 November. The first alleged that he set fire to a curtain in the hotel's reception, and the second that he set fire to a curtain in the hotel's Yellow Room. On being charged, the Labour whip was suspended in the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments. After initially registering not guilty pleas to both charges on 23 August 2005, on 1 September he changed his plea on the first count to guilty, and had a not guilty plea accepted on the second charge. On the same day that Lord Watson admitted his guilt, he resigned from the Scottish Parliament. He also resigned as a director of Dundee United Football Club.

However, it is not possible for a life peer to resign from the House of Lords, which has led to calls for legislation to enable those peers convicted of criminal offences to be stripped of their titles. Such legislation was last proposed following the conviction of Jeffrey Archer for perjury in 2001, but was then rejected.

On 22 September 2005, Lord Watson was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment. Sheriff Kathrine Mackie justified the sentence, stating that there was both "a significant risk of re-offending" and that Lord Watson offered no mitigation or explanation. She also told Lord Watson that consumption of alcohol "neither excuses nor fully explains your behaviour." Lord Watson appealed against his sentence on 23 March 2006 but the appeal judges refused to cut the term, and he was returned to prison.

After serving eight months of his sentence, he was released on 23 May 2006.

Later life[edit]

In January 2007 Lord Watson was appointed as an Associate Director with Caledonia Consulting. He continues to attend the House of Lords on a regular basis.


  1. ^ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/labour-blasted-after-firebug-peer-1444710.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/michael-watson/26525.  Missing or empty |title= (help)


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bob McTaggart
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central
Constituency abolished
Scottish Parliament
New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart
Succeeded by
Charlie Gordon
Political offices
Preceded by
Office Created
Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport
Succeeded by
Frank McAveety
Preceded by
Alasdair Morrison
Minister for Gaelic
Succeeded by
Peter Peacock