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Russell Johnston redirects here, for other people with similar names see Russell Johnson (disambiguation).
Russell Johnston (right) shares a joke with David Steel at the Liberal Party Assembly in 1987

David Russell Russell-Johnston, Baron Russell-Johnston, (28 July 1932 - 27 July 2008)[1] was a leading Scottish Liberal Democrat politician.

Russell Johnston was born and educated on the Isle of Skye. He later attended Edinburgh University (graduating with a Master of Arts in history in 1957) and Moray House College of Education, before working as a schoolteacher.

He was elected to the House of Commons and represented Inverness for the Liberal Party (1964–1983) and Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber as a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party (1983–1988) and for the Liberal Democrats (1988–1997). He also served as leader of the Scottish Liberal Party and as deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats (1988–1992). In October 1966, he proposed a bill of federal law in order to deal with the Scotland and Wales case.

He was knighted in 1985.[2]

In the 1992 election, he made history by holding his seat with just 26% of the vote -the lowest percentage ever for a winning candidate- in a close four-way battle with Labour, the SNP, and the Conservatives.

Upon his retirement from the House of Commons in 1997, he was created a life peer as Baron Russell-Johnston of Minginish in Highland, changing his surname by deed poll to allow his forename to be incorporated into his title.[2]

He lived for some years in Dolphin Square in London.

Johnston married Joan Graham Menzies in 1967. They had three sons. At the time of his death, Lord and Lady Russell-Johnston had been estranged for over ten years, but remained close to one another.[3]

Lord Russell-Johnston died on the eve of his 76th birthday. He had been suffering from cancer, for which he was receiving chemotherapy, but had continued to work on human rights issues for the Council of Europe, acting as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1999 until 2002. He collapsed and died in a street in Paris.[3]

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Neil McLean
Member of Parliament for Inverness
19641983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
19831997
Constituency abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Mackie
Chairman of the Scottish Liberal Party
1970–1974
Succeeded by
Menzies Campbell
Preceded by
?
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Party
1974–1988
Succeeded by
Malcolm Bruce
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Preceded by
Alan Beith
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
?
Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Party
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
1988–1992
Succeeded by
Alan Beith
Political offices
Preceded by
Leni Fischer
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
1999–2002
Succeeded by
Peter Schieder
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