John Wheatley, Baron Wheatley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Thomas Wheatley, Baron Wheatley PC KC (17 January 1908 – 28 July 1988) was a Scottish Labour politician and judge.


Wheatley was born on 17 January 1908 in Shettleston, Glasgow, the third and youngest child of Janet (1877–1951), a pupil teacher and daughter of Peter Murphy, a labourer from Belfast, and Patrick Wheatley (1875–1937), sometime miner and later publisher, who was born in County Waterford. He was educated at St. Aloysius' College, Glasgow, Mount St Mary's College near Sheffield, and the University of Glasgow. He was admitted as an advocate in 1932.[1]

He served in the Royal Artillery and the Judge Advocate Generals' Branch during World War II. As an advocate, he appeared before the Court of Session in his military uniform.[1] As a young man he played football for Shettleston F.C..[2]

He was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for Bute and North Ayrshire in 1945 and for Glasgow Bridgeton in 1946, where he was defeated by the Independent Labour Party candidate. He was elected for Edinburgh East at a by-election in November 1947 and sat for the constituency until 1954.[1] During his time in the Commons, he never made a Maiden Speech.[3]

He was Solicitor General for Scotland from March to October 1947,[4] when he was appointed Lord Advocate.[5] He was appointed a King's Counsel and a Privy Counsellor in 1947. One of his most significant achievements as a politician was the establishment of the legal aid scheme in Scotland. He was appointed to the bench, with the judicial title Lord Wheatley. In 1966 he was appointed chairman of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Scotland.[6]

The resulting "Wheatley Report", published in 1969, led to the eventual introduction a new system of Scottish local authorities.[7] On 28 July 1970 he was created a life peer, as Baron Wheatley, of Shettleston in the County of the City of Glasgow.[8] In December 1972 he was appointed to succeed Lord Grant as Lord Justice Clerk,[9] a post he held until 1985.

Following the Ibrox disaster in 1971, Wheatley was appointed by the government to conduct an inquiry into safety at sports grounds. His 1972 report became the basis for the Green Guide.

Wheatley was a lifelong Roman Catholic. He was also known for hard sentencing of crimes involving sex. While Lord Justice-Clerk (an appeal judge), he exercised his right to sit as a trial judge in criminal cases, and handed out long sentences for such crimes.


It was Wheatley's memorial service in 1988 which was attended by his old friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern, at the time Lord Chancellor. As a member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which strongly disapproves of Roman Catholicism, Mackay was disciplined by his church for having attended the memorial service.[1]


His uncle was the Shettleston MP John Wheatley.

Wheatley's son-in-law was the late Tam Dalyell, former father of the House of Commons, who married Wheatley's daughter, Kathleen, in 1963.


  • Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
  1. ^ a b c d Ross, Donald M. (23 September 2004). "Wheatley, John Thomas, Baron Wheatley (1908-1988), politician and judge". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/40379. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  2. ^ "Wheatley heads safety inquiry". Glasgow Herald. Glasgow. 5 February 1971. p. 18"."
  3. ^ House of Commons Library. "Maiden Speeches in the House of Commons since 1918". UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  4. ^ "No. 16424". The Edinburgh Gazette. 28 March 1947. p. 123.
  5. ^ "No. 16481". The Edinburgh Gazette. 14 October 1947. p. 427.
  6. ^ "Tasks set for new planners of local government. Members of royal commissions named". The Times. 25 May 1966. p. 14.
  7. ^ Turnock, David (1970). "The Wheatley Report: Local Government in Scotland". Area. Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. 2 (2): 10–12. JSTOR 20000437.
  8. ^ "No. 45161". The London Gazette. 31 July 1970. p. 8495.
  9. ^ "No. 19165". The Edinburgh Gazette. 22 December 1972. p. 1157.

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Wheatley
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Thomson
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East
Succeeded by
George Willis
Legal offices
Preceded by
Daniel Blades
Solicitor General for Scotland
Succeeded by
Douglas Johnston
Preceded by
George Thomson
Lord Advocate
Succeeded by
James Clyde
Preceded by
William Grant
Lord Justice Clerk
Succeeded by
Lord Ross
Retrieved from ",_Baron_Wheatley&oldid=880521640"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :,_Baron_Wheatley
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "John Wheatley, Baron Wheatley"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA