Thomas McNally, Baron McNally
Tom McNally, Baron McNally, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 (born 20 February 1943) is a British politician and the current Leader of the Liberal Democrats 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....

 and a Minister of State for Justice.

Early life

McNally was born in Blackpool, Lancs into an Irish Catholic family. He attended St Joseph's College, Blackpool, and University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

 where he was elected president of the Debating Society
University College London Union
University College London Union , founded in 1893, has a credible claim to be England's oldest students' union. It was formed with the following objectives: "the promotion of social intercourse and of the means of recreation, physical and mental, of the students of University College, and the...


Professional career

He later worked for the Fabian Society
Fabian Society
The Fabian Society is a British socialist movement, whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary, means. It is best known for its initial ground-breaking work beginning late in the 19th century and continuing up to World...

, and then as a full-time employee of the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

, becoming its international secretary. He served as a political advisor to Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

, 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...

 during the conflict in Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 in the 1970s, before becoming head of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

's political office at Downing Street
Downing Street
Downing Street in London, England has for over two hundred years housed the official residences of two of the most senior British cabinet ministers: the First Lord of the Treasury, an office now synonymous with that of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, an...

 when Callaghan succeeded 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...


Political career

Elected to the House of Commons in 1979
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

 as a member of the Labour Party for the constituency of Stockport South
Stockport South (UK Parliament constituency)
Stockport South was a borough constituency which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1950 until 1983.-Members of Parliament:...

, in 1981 he was one of the later defectors to the new Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party (UK)
The Social Democratic Party was a political party in the United Kingdom that was created on 26 March 1981 and existed until 1988. It was founded by four senior Labour Party 'moderates', dubbed the 'Gang of Four': Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams...

. Following constituency boundary changes for the 1983 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

 McNally was the SDP candidate for the new constituency of Stockport
Stockport (UK Parliament constituency)
Stockport is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-Boundaries:...

, but finished in third place behind Labour and the Conservative victor, Tony Favell. He has been President of the Stockport Liberal Democrat Constituency Party since 2007. From 1993 he was Head of Public Affairs at Shandwick Consultants. On 18 November 1995 it was announced he would receive a life peerage. The Letters Patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 were issued on 20 December and he took the title Baron McNally, of Blackpool
Blackpool is a borough, seaside town, and unitary authority area of Lancashire, in North West England. It is situated along England's west coast by the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, northwest of Preston, north of Liverpool, and northwest of Manchester...

 in the County of Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...


He took office as Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords at the beginning of the 2004/05 session of Parliament after being elected unopposed to succeed Baroness Williams of Crosby.

In January 2006, McNally was linked to the resignation of Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy
Charles Peter Kennedy is a British Liberal Democrat politician, who led the Liberal Democrats from 9 August 1999 until 7 January 2006 and is currently a Member of Parliament for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency....

, with critical comments regarding Kennedy's leadership of the party, and the effect that infighting was having on their electoral prospects in the upcoming local elections in May. Lord McNally criticised Kennedy, suggesting that his style and content were lacklustre. On 21 January, Lord McNally revealed in an interview that he had himself been alcohol dependent in the 1980s. He said, "I don't think the passing of a more boozy, ill-disciplined, ill-researched type of politics is to be regretted at all." Friends noted that it had been quite a struggle for McNally (and his then-wife, Eileen) but that he had successfully stayed on the wagon since and, after remarrying, had forged a happy life, living in St Albans
St Albans
St Albans is a city in southern Hertfordshire, England, around north of central London, which forms the main urban area of the City and District of St Albans. It is a historic market town, and is now a sought-after dormitory town within the London commuter belt...


In May 2010, following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, Lord McNally was appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, under Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Harry "Ken" Clarke, QC, MP is a British Conservative politician, currently Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He was first elected to Parliament in 1970; and appointed a minister in Edward Heath's government, in 1972, and is one of...


External links

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