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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Forsyth of Drumlean 

In office
5 June 1995 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Ian Lang
Succeeded by Donald Dewar

Member of Parliament
for Stirling
In office
7 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Constituency Established
Succeeded by Anne McGuire

Born 16 October 1954 (1954-10-16) (age 55)
Montrose, Scotland, United Kingdom[1]
Political party Conservative

Michael Bruce Forsyth, Baron Forsyth of Drumlean PC, Kt (born 16 October 1954, Montrose) is a British Conservative politician. His highest office was as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1995 to 1997.

Michael Forsyth was a Public Relations executive working for KH Publicity (Kit Hobday) in Fleet Lane, EC. The agency was well-known for its political campaigns and lobbying, with Tate + Lyle and Redland as the principal clients. Forsyth lobbied heavily for a privatised refuse collection service on behalf of his client Redland, a surprisingly revolutionary idea at the time. His operations brought him to the notice of Keith Joseph and then Margaret Thatcher for whom he was a devoted supporter. Later, his vendettas against opponents (in the same party) in Scotland put him out of favour with many of the establishment parliamentarians. A devoted and ambitious politician, he appears to have been sidelined with honours.

Forsyth first entered parliament for Stirling in the 1983 election, and lost his seat to Anne McGuire from Labour in the 1997 election. In 1997, he received a knighthood and in 1999 was elevated to the House of Lords given a life peerage as Baron Forsyth of Drumlean, of Drumlean in Stirling.



Forsyth led a high profile but ultimately unsuccessful campaign against plans to establish a devolved Scottish Parliament.

He particularly homed in on the proposals for the parliament to have the power to vary the basic rate of income tax by up to three pence in the pound, which he repeatedly dubbed the "Tartan Tax". Forsyth's persistence was widely credited with prompting the Labour Party's unexpected decision - bitterly criticised by the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party - to separate out the tax-varying issue in a two-question referendum on devolution. However the "Tartan Tax" label was not enough to prevent the Scottish electorate ultimately voting in favour of the proposal by an almost two-to-one margin.

Stone of Scone

In 1996, during his tenure as Scottish Secretary, Forsyth received the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny, when it was returned from Westminster Abbey to ultimately take up residence in Edinburgh Castle. He is largely credited with the initiative to return the stone, used for the coronation of Scottish, and British monarchs, to Scotland. [2]

Elevation to the Lords

Following his elevation to the House of Lords, Forsyth has held a number of positions. From October 2005 to October 2006, he was Chairman of the Tax Reform Commission, established by the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP. The Commission reported on 19 October 2006. Other Commission members included Sir Chris Gent, the former CEO of Vodafone and Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline.

In a private capacity, Forsyth worked in the City of London for investment bank, JPMorgan; latterly as Deputy Chairman. He stepped down from this position in July 2005.

External links



  • Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Stirling
Succeeded by
Anne McGuire
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian Lang
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Donald Dewar


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