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The Right Honourable
 Sir Donald Maclean 

In office
1918 – 1920
Monarch George V
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by H. H. Asquith

In office
25 August 1931 – 15 June 1932
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by Hastings Lees-Smith
Succeeded by The Lord Irwin

Born 9 January 1864 (1864-01-09)
Farnworth, Bolton, Lancashire
Died 15 June 1932 (1932-06-16)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Gwendoline Devitt

Sir Donald Charles Hugh Maclean KBE, PC (9 January 1864 – 15 June 1932), was a British Liberal politician. He was Leader of the Opposition between 1918 and 1920 and served in Ramsay MacDonald's National Government as President of the Board of Education between 1931 and his death in June of the following year.



Born in Farnworth, Bolton, Lancashire, Maclean was the eldest son of John Maclean, a cordwainer originally of Kilmoluag, in the Inner Hebrides, and his wife Agnes Macmellin Maclean.

Political career

Maclean practised as a solicitor before becoming Liberal Member of Parliament for Bath in 1906.[1] He lost his seat at the January 1910 general election. At the December 1910 general election, he was returned for Peebles and Selkirk, a seat he held until 1918,[2] and then represented Peebles and South Midlothian between 1918 and 1922[2] and the Northern Division of Cornwall between 1929 and 1932.[3]

Maclean was knighted and appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1916,[4] and was Leader of the Liberal Parliamentary Party from 1918 to 1922, as the nominal leader of the Liberal Party, H. H. Asquith had lost his seat in the House of Commons. For two years he also served as Leader of the Opposition, while Labour had no official leader and Sinn Féin refused to participate in parliamentary government.

Towards the end of his life, Maclean joined the National Government headed by Ramsay MacDonald. He served as President of the Board of Education from 1931 to 1932, when he died from cardiovascular disease at the age of sixty-eight.


Maclean married Gwendoline Devitt on 26 October 1907. They and their eldest son, Ian, are buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Penn, Buckinghamshire. Another of his four sons was the diplomat and spy, Donald Duart Maclean.


  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume III 1919-1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1979)

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmond Wodehouse
Sir Wyndham Murray
Member of Parliament for Bath
1906–January 1910
With: George Peabody Gooch
Succeeded by
Lord Alexander Thynne
Sir Charles Hunter, Bt
Preceded by
William Younger
Member of Parliament for Peebles and Selkirk
December 1910–1918
Constituency renamed Peebles
and Southern Midlothian
New constituency Member of Parliament for Peebles and Southern Midlothian
Succeeded by
Joseph Westwood
Preceded by
Alfred Martyn Williams
Member of Parliament for North Cornwall
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Dyke Acland, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
H. H. Asquith
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
H. H. Asquith
Preceded by
Hastings Lees-Smith
President of the Board of Education
Succeeded by
The Lord Irwin
Party political offices
Preceded by
H. H. Asquith
Chairman of the Scottish Liberal Federation
Succeeded by
John Anthony


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