Tom Fraser

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Tom Fraser

Minister of Transport
In office
16 October 1964 – 23 December 1965
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byErnest Marples
Succeeded byBarbara Castle
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
4 August 1945 – 26 October 1951
Served with George Buchanan, John Robertson and Margaret Herbison.
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Sec. of StateJoseph Westwood
Chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
In office
May 1967 – January 1979
Preceded byThe Lord Strathclyde
Succeeded byThe Lord Greenhill of Harrow
Member of Parliament
for Hamilton
In office
29 January 1943 – 14 October 1967
Preceded byDuncan Macgregor Graham
Succeeded byWinnie Ewing
Personal details
Born18 February 1911 (1911-02-18)
Died21 November 1988 (1988-11-22) (aged 77)
Political partyLabour

Thomas Fraser PC (18 February 1911 – 21 November 1988) was a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for the Hamilton constituency between 1943 and 1967.[1]

Fraser was educated at Lesmahagow Higher Grade School until the age of 14 when he began work as minor, working underground until his entry to parliament. He served as a branch official for his union from 1938 until 1943 and from 1939 until 1943 was secretary of the Lanark divisional Labour Party.[2] He entered parliament at the 1943 Hamilton by-election, defeating an independent candidate by over 8,000 votes and polling 81.1% of the votes cast.[3] Following the Labour Party's victory in the 1945 general election he was appointed as Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and held the post until his party lost power in 1951 general election.[2]

In opposition Fraser served as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland "for many years."[4] Following Labour's victory in the 1964 general election he served as Minister of Transport from 16 October 1964 until 23 December 1965. In December 1965 he introduced the 70 mph (113 km/h) speed limit on motorways as an emergency measure[5] following a series of multiple low speed crashes on motorways, mainly in fog.[6] Throughout his tenure as Minister, he authorised the closure 1,071 mi of railway lines, following the recommendations from the Beeching Report. However, he went further and authorised the closure of lines, notably the Oxford to Cambridge Line, that even Beeching had not considered closing.[7]

In May 1967 he resigned from Parliament to become chairman of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.[8][9] His resignation paved the way for a by-election which resulted in a historic victory for the Scottish National Party's candidate Winnie Ewing.[4]

He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1964. He later served on the Wheatley Commission and was in part responsible for the resulting reforms in Scottish local government. He retired to Lesmahagow, where he had previously been employed as a miner, and died in Law Hospital in 1988 after a brief illness.[4][4] When he died, one of his successors for the seat, George Robertson, noted there was still "immense respect" for him in Hamilton.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Candidates and Constituency Assessments: Hamilton South". Archived from the original on 16 August 2005.
  2. ^ a b The Times House of Commons 1951. London: The Times Office. 1951. p. 201.
  3. ^ Craig, F.W.S. (1969). British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949. Glasgow: Political Reference Publications. p. 632.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ex-Minister Dies at 77". Evening Times. 22 November 1988. p. 4. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  5. ^ Walter Harris (13 December 2005). "Politicians and the pleasures of fast cars". The Independent.
  6. ^ David Benson (1966). "Four of the reasons why there's a good time coming". The Daily Express. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  7. ^ David Henshaw: The Great Railway Conspiracy. p. 165 (3rd Edition, 2013) ISBN 978-0-957651 1-0-4
  8. ^ Christopher Harvie. "Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics, 1707 to the Present". Google Books. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  9. ^ David Butler. "British Political Facts Since 1979". Google Books. Retrieved 22 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Duncan Macgregor Graham
Member of Parliament for Hamilton
19431967
Succeeded by
Winnie Ewing
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Marples
Minister of Transport
1964–1965
Succeeded by
Barbara Castle