Tam Dalyell: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Sir Tam Dalyell 

In office
7 June 2001 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Sir Edward Heath
Succeeded by Alan Williams

Member of Parliament
for Linlithgow
West Lothian (1962 – 1983)
In office
14 June 1962 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by John Taylor
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished

Born 4 August 1932(1932-08-04)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Kathleen Wheatley
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge

Sir Thomas Dalyell Loch, 11th Baronet (born 9 August 1932), known as Tam Dalyell (pronounced /diːˈɛl/), is a British Labour politician, who was a member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005.

Born in Edinburgh[1], but raised in his mother, Nora Dalyell's family home, The Binns, near Linlithgow, West Lothian; his father (Percy) Gordon Loch, C.I.E., an Empire civil servant (Political Agent) and a scion of the Loch family. His father took his wife's maiden name in 1938, and through his mother he inherited the Baronetcy of the Binns in 1972, although he never uses the title.



Dalyell was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and Eton College and did his National Service with the Royal Scots Greys from 1950 to 1952 - as an ordinary trooper, after failing his officer training. He then went to King's College, Cambridge to study History and Economics, where he was Chairman of the Conservative Association. He then trained as a teacher at Moray House College in Edinburgh and taught at a non-selective school and a ship school. He joined the Labour Party in 1956 after the Suez Crisis.

He became a Member of Parliament in June 1962, when he defeated William Wolfe of the Scottish National Party in a hard fought by-election for West Lothian. From 1983 onwards he represented Linlithgow (when the New Town of Livingston split off to form its own constituency) and easily retained his position as their representative. He became Father of the House after the 2001 General Election, when Sir Edward Heath retired. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 1975 to 1979, and a member of the Labour National Executive from 1986 to 1987 for the Campaign group.

Following his outspoken opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and criticism of the government, Downing Street suggested that he might face withdrawal of the Labour whip.

In 2003 Dalyell stated in an interview with the American magazine Vanity Fair that Prime Minister Tony Blair was unduly influenced by a "cabal of Jewish advisers." He specifically named Lord Levy who was Blair's official representative in the Middle East and Labour Party (UK) politicians Peter Mandelson (whose father was Jewish) and Jack Straw (whose great-grandfather was Jewish). He denied accusations that the remarks were anti-Semitic.[2][3][4] In March 2003, regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Dalyell accused the then Prime Minister Tony Blair of being a war criminal. Stating, "...since Mr Blair is going ahead with his support for a US attack without unambiguous UN authorisation, he should be branded as a war criminal and sent to The Hague.". [5]

On 7 March 2003 Dalyell was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh by the staff and students. He was succeeded in 2006 by Mark Ballard.

It was announced on 13 January 2004 that he intended to stand down at the next election and he duly left the House of Commons in April 2005 after forty three years as a member of the Commons. He had been Scotland's longest-serving MP since the resignation of Bruce Millan in 1988. He was succeeded as Father of the House by Alan Williams.

He married Kathleen Wheatley, a teacher, on 26 December 1963. They have one son and one daughter, both of whom are lawyers. He is a 6th cousin of Harry S. Truman through the daughter of the 1st Baronet Dalyell of the Binns.

In his retirement, and for some years previously, he has regularly contributed obituaries to The Independent.


On 16 May 2009, the Daily Telegraph revealed that Dalyell had claimed £18,000 for three bookcases just months before his retirement from the House of Commons.[6] Dalyell, however, claimed that this was a legitimate expense to which he was entitled,[7] and the House of Commons' Fees Office, in fact, finally released £7,800.

Political views

Dalyell's stance in Parliament ensured his isolation from significant committees and jobs. His early career was promising and he became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Richard Crossman. But he annoyed a number of ministers and was heavily censured by the privileges committee for a leak about the biological weapons research establishment Porton Down to the newspapers (though he claimed that he thought the minutes were in the public domain). When Labour failed to hold power in 1970 his chances of senior office were effectively over. He was opposed to Scottish devolution and first posed the famous "West Lothian question", although it was given its name by Enoch Powell. He continued to argue his own causes: in 1978 to 1979 he voted against his own government over 100 times, despite a three-line whip.

Dalyell is vocal in his disapproval of imperialism. Beginning with his opposition to action in Borneo in 1965, he has contested almost every British action - arguing against action in Aden, the depopulation of Diego Garcia, the Falklands War (especially the sinking of the General Belgrano), the Gulf War, and action in Kosovo and Iraq, saying, "I will resist a war with every sinew in my body". When invited by a television journalist to rank Tony Blair among the eight Prime Ministers he had observed as a parliamentarian, he cited policy over Kosovo and Iraq as reasons for placing his party leader at the bottom of the list. He was also a strong presence in Parliament concerning Libya and led no fewer than 17 adjournment debates on the Lockerbie bombing,[8] in which he repeatedly demanded answers by the government to the reports of Hans Köchler, United Nations observer at the Lockerbie trial.[9]

He has been a columnist for the New Scientist magazine since 1967. Recently he has also been a strong supporter of Classical subjects (Greek and Roman studies) in higher education.


  • The Case of Ship-Schools, 1960
  • Ship-School Dunera, 1963
  • Devolution: The End of Britain?, 1977
  • One Man's Falklands, 1982
  • A Science Policy for Britain, 1983
  • Thatcher's Torpedo, 1983
  • Misrule, 1987
  • Dick Crossman: A Portrait, 1989


See also

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Taylor
Member of Parliament for West Lothian
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Linlithgow
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Edward Heath
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Alan Williams
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robin Harper
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Mark Ballard
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Nora Dalyell
(of Binns)
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet, known as Tam Dalyell (born 9 August 1932) was a Scottish MP, 1962-2005, and Father of the House, 2001-2005.



  • This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks -- men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war. This is a blueprint for US world domination -- a New World Order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.
    • Sunday Herald, September 15th, 2002


  • The truth of the matter is that we Scots have always been more divided amongst ourselves than pitted against the English. Scottish history before the Union of the Parliaments is a gloomy, violent tale of murders, feuds and tribal revenge. Only after the Act of Union did Highlanders and Lowlanders, Picts and Celts, begin to recognise one another as fellow citizens.


  • This is how Tam Dalyell is feeling -- about the Belgrano, about Westland, the miners' strike, Libya, GCHQ, Zircon, the Peter Wright affair... this book is really just a cry of rage: "I was right -- surely you can see -- look, here is the evidence -- let's go through it all carefully again -- how can anyone disagree..?" But the thrust of the book, and the detailed evidence assembled, are for the most part familiar. Writing it all up, again, and publishing it in this way, is just one more try at persuading somebody (I don't think Mr Dalyell is quite sure whom) to say: "Yes, Tam, you were right. Off with Maggie's head!" How he loathes Mrs Thatcher. She is variously called pig-headed, a fishwife, and a mass murderess as the story proceeds. This element of personal vendetta seriously weakens his case because -- for all that he rests it upon alleged facts -- his gravest charges rely upon his imputing to her the worst imaginable motives consistent with those facts. One has to say -- without denying that his allegations of facts need answering -- that there is a certain sleight-of-hand here.
    • Matthew Parris (Review of 'MISRULE - How Mrs Thatcher has misled Parliament from the sinking of the Belgrano to the Wright affair' by Tam Dalyell, 1987)

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address