Iain Macleod
Iain Norman Macleod was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and government minister.

Early life

Iain Macleod was born at Clifford House, Skipton
Skipton is a market town and civil parish within the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is located along the course of both the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, on the south side of the Yorkshire Dales, northwest of Bradford and west of York...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

 on 11 November 1913. His parents were from the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland. They moved to Skipton in 1907. Macleod grew up with strong personal and cultural ties to Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, as his parents bought in 1917 part of the Leverhulme estate on the Isle of Lewis. Macleod's father, Dr. Norman Alexander Macleod, was a well-respected general practitioner in Skipton, with a substantial poor-law practice.

He was educated at Fettes College
Fettes College
Fettes College is an independent school for boarding and day pupils in Edinburgh, Scotland with over two thirds of its pupils in residence on campus...

 in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. Macleod showed no great academic talent but did develop an enduring love of literature, especially poetry, which he read and memorised in great quantity and his results were good enough for him in 1932 to go to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he obtained a Lower Second
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

 in History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 three years later, in 1935.

He was one of the great British bridge
Contract bridge
Contract bridge, usually known simply as bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards played by four players in two competing partnerships with partners sitting opposite each other around a small table...

 players; he won the Gold Cup
Gold Cup (bridge)
The Gold Cup is the premier open Britishcontract bridge competition for teams of four. It was first contested in the 1931/32 season, making it one of the oldest contract bridge tournaments anywhere...

 in 1937 and authored a book, Bridge is an Easy Game which contains a description of the Acol
Acol is the bridge bidding system that, according to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, is "standard in British tournament play and widely used in other parts of the world". It is named after the Acol Bridge Club, previously located on Acol Road in London NW6, where the system started to evolve...

 bidding system. A bridge connection earned him a job offer with a printing company, but by the late 1930s he was living the life of a playboy off his bridge earnings; he only gave up playing seriously (and relying on his bridge earnings) in the early 1950s when his developing political career became his priority.

Macleod joined the Royal Fusiliers as a private in 1939 but was commissioned into the Duke of Wellington's Regiment
Duke of Wellington's Regiment
The Duke of Wellington's Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army, forming part of the King's Division.In 1702 Colonel George Hastings, 8th Earl of Huntingdon, was authorised to raise a new regiment, which he did in and around the city of Gloucester. As was the custom in those days...

 and fought briefly in France in 1940, suffering a serious war wound to the thigh which, particularly when combined with a later spinal condition (ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis , previously known as Bekhterev's disease, Bekhterev syndrome, and Marie-Strümpell disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the axial skeleton with variable involvement of peripheral joints and nonarticular structures...

), was to leave him with pain and a limp for the rest of his life. Following his recovery from injury (and attendance at staff college), he landed in France on D-Day as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General (DAQMG) of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division and continued to serve in France until November 1944 when he returned to Yorkshire. He ended the war as a Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...


He unsuccessfully contested the Western Isles
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (UK Parliament constituency)
Na h-Eileanan an Iar is a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, created in 1918. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.- History :...

 constituency at the 1945 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1945
The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was a general election held on 5 July 1945, with polls in some constituencies delayed until 12 July and in Nelson and Colne until 19 July, due to local wakes weeks. The results were counted and declared on 26 July, due in part to the time it took to...

 (there was no Conservative Party in the seat, so his father appointed himself Association Chairman). Macleod came bottom of the poll, obtaining 2756 votes out of 13,000.

In 1946, he joined the Conservative Parliamentary Secretariat, subsequently merged into the Conservative Research Department
Conservative Research Department
The Conservative Research Department is part of the central organisation of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom. It operates alongside other departments of Conservative Campaign Headquarters at 30 Millbank, London SW1....

. Here he became close friends with Enoch Powell
Enoch Powell
John Enoch Powell, MBE was a British politician, classical scholar, poet, writer, and soldier. He served as a Conservative Party MP and Minister of Health . He attained most prominence in 1968, when he made the controversial Rivers of Blood speech in opposition to mass immigration from...

, but the two fell out over Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech
Rivers of Blood speech
The "Rivers of Blood" speech was a speech criticising Commonwealth immigration, as well as proposed anti-discrimination legislation in the United Kingdom made on 20 April 1968 by Enoch Powell , the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West...

, and Macleod refused to speak to Powell again after the speech. Powell later recalled that Macleod's dealings with him were as if Powell was a pariah afterwards.

Political career

At the General Election of February 1950 he won in the parliamentary constituency of Enfield, West
Enfield West (UK Parliament constituency)
Enfield West was a constituency which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 1950 general election and abolished for the February 1974 general election....

. Though not initially appointed to ministerial office, a brilliant Commons performance in March 1952 against Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

 in a debate on health caught Churchill's attention, and six weeks later, on 7 May, Macleod was appointed Minister of Health. In this position, later in 1952, he famously made the announcement that British clinician Richard Doll
Richard Doll
Sir William Richard Shaboe Doll CH OBE FRS was a British physiologist who became the foremost epidemiologist of the 20th century, turning the subject into a rigorous science. He was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems...

 had proved the link between smoking and lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

 at a press conference throughout which he chain-smoked.

In the Eden and Macmillan governments he served first as Minister of Labour and National Service (1957-9) and then as Secretary of State for the Colonies
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

 (1959–61). Here he presided over considerable decolonisation, seeing Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, British Somaliland
British Somaliland
British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa...

, Tanganyika
Tanganyika , later formally the Republic of Tanganyika, was a sovereign state in East Africa from 1961 to 1964. It was situated between the Indian Ocean and the African Great Lakes of Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika...

, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

, Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and British Cameroon become independent, and in Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 ending the state of emergency and freeing Kenyatta. He made a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 in 1960. His work in promoting decolonisation, though it enjoyed Macmillan's personal support, was resisted by the Conservative Right; his role in negotiations over the future of Rhodesia attracted the damaging and much-remembered description of Macleod by the party grandee, the Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1903 to 1947, was a British Conservative politician.-Background:...

, as "too clever by half".

Not helping his acceptance by the more right-wing elements of his own party at the time, Macleod was against the death penalty and supported legalisation of abortion and homosexuality. Indicative of his centrist leanings, Macleod established good personal relations with several of his Labour opposite numbers, including both Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

  and James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

, even though he clashed with Callaghan numerous times at the dispatch box while serving as Shadow Chancellor in the 1960s (by contrast, he did not get on with Callaghan's successor, Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins
Roy Harris Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead OM, PC was a British politician.The son of a Welsh coal miner who later became a union official and Labour MP, Roy Jenkins served with distinction in World War II. Elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1948, he served in several major posts in...

, after the November 1967 government reshuffle, considering him vain and arrogant).

In 1961 he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

, leader of the House of Commons, and chairman of the Conservative Party organization. When Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 resigned as Prime Minister in 1963, Macleod, despite his ability, was not considered a serious prospect for the leadership. Having lent his support to Rab Butler
Rab Butler
Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, KG CH DL PC , who invariably signed his name R. A. Butler and was familiarly known as Rab, was a British Conservative politician...

, and strongly opposed the successful candidacy of the Earl of Home (later Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Alec Douglas-Home
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC , known as The Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963 and as Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1974, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1963 to October 1964.He is the last...

), Macleod (along with Enoch Powell
Enoch Powell
John Enoch Powell, MBE was a British politician, classical scholar, poet, writer, and soldier. He served as a Conservative Party MP and Minister of Health . He attained most prominence in 1968, when he made the controversial Rivers of Blood speech in opposition to mass immigration from...

) refused to serve under the latter as Prime Minister (though he did return to the shadow cabinet under Home after the 1964 election). Macleod did not contest the first ever party leadership election in 1965, but backed Edward Heath.

The coinage of the word stagflation
In economics, stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the economic growth rate slows down and unemployment remains steadily high...

is attributed to him. Speaking in the House of Commons on November 17, 1965, he said: "We now have the worst of both worlds — not just inflation on the one side or stagnation on the other, but both of them together. We have a sort of 'stagflation' situation. And history, in modern terms, is indeed being made."

While out of office in the mid-1960s he served as editor of The Spectator, where he caused further controversy by publishing in early 1964 a candid account of the 1963 party leadership contest.

As Shadow Chancellor in 1967 Iain Macleod helped to found the homeless charity Crisis
Crisis (charity)
Crisis is is the UK national charity for single homeless people. The charity offers year-round education, employment, housing and well-being services from centres in London, Newcastle, Oxford, Edinburgh and Merseyside, called Crisis Skylight Centres....

On 20 June 1970, two days after the Conservative Party's
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 election victory, Macleod was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 by Prime Minister Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

. However, on 7 July 1970 he was rushed to hospital with appendicitis
Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. It is classified as a medical emergency and many cases require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Untreated, mortality is high, mainly because of the risk of rupture leading to...

. He was discharged 11 days later but at 10.30pm on 20 July 1970, while in 11 Downing Street, Iain Macleod suffered a severe heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 and died at 11.35pm. There seems little doubt that the long years of illness and pain had shortened his life. Cecil King
Cecil Harmsworth King
Cecil Harmsworth King was owner of Mirror Group Newspapers, and later a director at the Bank of England .He came on his father's side from a Protestant Irish family, and was brought up in Ireland...

 (in "The Cecil King Diary 1970-1974") states that according to mutual friends, he was killed by terminal cancer which by the time of his death was affecting his spine. However, Macleod's own doctor, a Dr Forster, said there was no evidence that he was suffering from cancer at the time of his death.

Iain Macleod left behind him an outline budget which some observers found surprisingly hard-line in its proposals for control of public spending. This included the infamous abolition of free school milk, which became the first significant Ministerial act of the new Education Secretary and future Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

—she would come to be known as "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher", as a result. He also bequeathed his successors a detailed plan for tax reform, much of which was put into action.


Many Conservative politicians of generations following Macleod recalled him as a highly effective speaker. He said of the Labour Party under Gaitskell that, when offered their choice of weapons, they invariably chose boomerangs. He was reputed to be the only speaker that Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 was afraid of - he compared Wilson to a kipper, which has two faces. John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

 specifically cited his example on taking office.


He married Evelyn Hester Mason
Evelyn Macleod, Baroness Macleod of Borve
Evelyn Hester "Eve" Macleod, Baroness Macleod of Borve was a British public servant.Born Evelyn Hester Blois, she was the eldest daughter of Revd. Gervase Blois and his wife, Hester...

 (née Blois) on 25 January 1941. They had a son and a daughter, Torquil and Diana, who were born in 1942 and 1944. Mrs. Macleod was struck down in the summer of 1952 by meningitis and polio, but subsequently managed to walk again with the aid of sticks and worked hard to support her husband's career. After her husband's death she accepted a peerage in 1971 and took her seat in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 as Baroness Macleod of Borve. Macleod's daughter Diana Heimann was a UK Independence Party candidate at Banbury
Banbury (UK Parliament constituency)
Banbury is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a strongly Conservative seat.The constituency was created January 26, 1554 through the efforts of Henry Stafford and Thomas Denton...

 in the 2005 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....


He is buried in the churchyard of Gargrave
Gargrave is a small village and civil parish in the Craven district located along the A65, northwest of Skipton in North Yorkshire, England.It is situated on the very edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal pass through the village...

 Church in North Yorkshire.

External links

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