David McLetchie

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David McLetchie
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
In office
6 May 1999 – 31 October 2005
Succeeded by Annabel Goldie
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
6 May 2011 – 12 August 2013
Preceded by George Foulkes
Succeeded by Cameron Buchanan
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Pentlands
In office
1 May 2003 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by Iain Gray
Succeeded by Gordon MacDonald
Majority 4,525 (13.2%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
6 May 1999 – 1 May 2003
Succeeded by Mark Ballard
Personal details
Born (1952-08-06)6 August 1952
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died 12 August 2013(2013-08-12) (aged 61)
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Political party Scottish Conservative Party
Spouse(s) Sheila
Children 1
(+2 stepchildren)
Alma mater University of Edinburgh

David William McLetchie CBE (6 August 1952 – 12 August 2013) was a Scottish politician, a Scottish Conservative and Unionist Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Lothian electoral region.[1] He was formerly the leader of the Scottish Conservatives between 1999 and 2005, and MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency (2003–2011).[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 Scottish Conservatives, but lost to Labour's Robin Cook.

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. 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.

Post 2007

In May 2007 McLetchie was returned as MSP for his Edinburgh Pentlands constituency 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. In the Scottish General Election on 5 May 2011, he lost the constituency of Edinburgh Pentlands to Gordon MacDonald of the SNP. He was re-elected, despite this loss, as a list MSP for the Lothian region.

McLetchie was appointed 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. 2013-08-12. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  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

  • Biography from the Scottish Conservative website
  • Biography from scottish.parliament.uk
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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