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David McLetchie

David McLetchie

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
In office
6 May 1999 – 31 October 2005
LeaderWilliam Hague
Iain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAnnabel Goldie
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
In office
6 May 2011 – 12 August 2013
Preceded byGeorge Foulkes
Succeeded byCameron Buchanan
In office
6 May 1999 – 1 May 2003
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byMark Ballard
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Pentlands
In office
1 May 2003 – 5 May 2011
Preceded byIain Gray
Succeeded byGordon MacDonald
Personal details
Born(1952-08-06)6 August 1952
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Died12 August 2013(2013-08-12) (aged 61)
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Political partyConservatives
(1 child, and 2 stepchildren)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

David William McLetchie CBE (6 August 1952 – 12 August 2013) was a Scottish Conservative politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 1999 to 2005 and Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands from 2003 to 2011, and Lothian from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2013.[1][2]


Born in Edinburgh, McLetchie became leader of the Scottish Conservatives upon the creation of the Scottish Parliament, in 1999, and was the MSP for the Lothians electoral region (1999–2003). In 2003, he was elected as the constituency MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency.

He was forced to resign as Scottish Conservative leader following a scandal over his expense claims in 2005. He was re-elected in Edinburgh Pentlands in 2007, but lost his seat to the SNP in 2011. Although not re-elected in Pentlands, he was returned to Parliament as a "list" MSP for the Lothian region.

Education and career

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Law in 1974, having attended Leith Academy and George Heriot's School. McLetchie trained as a solicitor with Shepherd and Wedderburn, before joining Tods Murray where he was assumed a partner. He specialised in tax, trusts, and estate planning.

In 1979, he contested the Edinburgh Central seat for the Conservatives, but lost to Robin Cook of the Labour Party.

Member of the Scottish Parliament

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives

Since 1999, he was a Member of the Scottish Parliament. He was also Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 1999 until 2005, having been elected in the 1998 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election. Initially he was elected as an additional member for the Lothian region, but at the 2003 election he won the first past the post seat of Edinburgh Pentlands.


David McLetchie announced his resignation as Scottish Conservative Party leader on 31 October 2005, after it was revealed he had spent £11,500 of taxpayers' money on taxi fares, more than any other MSP.[3] The problem was not so much the large bill, but that he had used taxis for Conservative party business (as opposed to constituency business). His successor as leader was Annabel Goldie.


Following his resignation McLetchie had a short spell as a backbencher in the Parliament though he remained a prominent figure, his major successes from this period include his campaigns on free personal care and road pricing.


In May 2007, McLetchie was re-elected as MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands with an increased share of the vote and his majority doubled. On his return, he was made Conservative Chief Whip and business manager, a role which was set to be more important than ever before; given the minority SNP administration. At the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011, he lost the Edinburgh Pentlands seat to Gordon MacDonald of the SNP. He was re-elected, despite this loss, as a list MSP for the Lothian region.

McLetchie was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours.[4] He died of cancer on 12 August 2013.[5]


  1. ^ "Ex-Conservative leader David McLetchie dies". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Former Tory leader McLetchie dies". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  3. ^ "McLetchie resigns as Tory leader". BBC News. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  4. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Former Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie dies". BBC. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.

External links

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Iain Gray
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands
Succeeded by
Gordon MacDonald
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
Succeeded by
Annabel Goldie

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