John MacDougall (UK politician)

John MacDougall (UK politician)

Infobox MP
honorific-prefix =
name = John MacDougall
honorific-suffix =

constituency_MP = Glenrothes
Central Fife (2001-2005)
parliament =
majority = 10,664 (28.5%)
predecessor = Henry McLeish
successor = "To be elected"
term_start = 7 June 2001
term_end = 13 August 2008
birth_date = Birth date|1947|12|8|df=yes
birth_place = Dunfermline, Fife
death_date = 13 August 2008 (aged 60)
death_place = Kirkcaldy, Fife [ BBC News Edinburgh and Fife, John MacDougall's legacy( ]
nationality = Scottish
spouse =
party = Labour
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

John William MacDougall (8 December 1947 – 13 August 2008) was a Scottish Labour politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Glenrothes from 2005 general election until death; he was first elected to the House of Commons for Central Fife in the 2001 general election.

He was a low-profile MP, who had been loyal to the Labour government. From 2007 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and with his chronically illness, his participation in Parliament became fleeting.

Early life

MacDougall was educated at Templehall Secondary Modern School in Kirkcaldy, Fife. He later obtained a diploma in industrial management and a certificate in naval architecture studies."Dod's Guide to the General Election, June 2001", Vacher Dod Publishing, 2001, p. 193.] He began work as an apprentice caulker riveter at Rosyth Dockyard,Erlend Clouston, "MoD leak alleges 'deceit and betrayal' over Rosyth", "The Guardian", 4 May 1994.] but his main working life was spent as a boilermaker from 1964 at the oil rig construction yard in Methil. [ John MacDougall, Your MP] biography from personal website, accessed 14 June 2008.] He became a shop steward for the GMB trade union, later full-time Shop Steward Convenor.James Landale, Tom Baldwin, "The working-class Labour male is back", "The Times", 1 June 2000, p. 16.]

Fife councillor

After joining the Labour Party in 1981, MacDougall was elected as a Labour Party member of Fife Regional Council for BurntislandJohn Knox, " [ Life after unknown Labour soldier] ", BBC News Online, retrieved 2 October 2008.] the following year. He became leader of the regional council in 1987, formally as Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, leaving work to be a full-time councillor, and serving until the Regional Council was abolished in the reform of local government.

MacDougall was elected to the new Fife unitary council in 1995 and became Convenor of the council when it assumed its powers in April 1996. MacDougall's position as leader led him to accept several other appointments, including as Chair of the Rosyth Dockyard and Naval Base Coordinating Committee, a director of Fife Enterprise, and Chair and director of Community Business Fife Ltd. In the mid-1990s he led the council's efforts to keep the Rosyth base open, including writing to every Conservative MP to ask them to support a defence review not led by the Treasury.Erlend Clouston, "Fife shivers on base line", "The Guardian", 21 June 1994.] He was a member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention which established the framework for the Scottish Parliament.


When Henry McLeish announced that he would stand down from his UK Parliament seat in Central Fife on moving to the Scottish Parliament, MacDougall was thought to be likely to be beaten to the selection as his successor by the former Labour Party general secretary Alex Rowley.Catherine MacLeod, "Labour's battle of the sexes", "The Herald", 13 April 2000, p. 7.] However MacDougall was announced as the winner of the ballot. MacDougall was slightly embarrassed during the election campaign when his son Scott played a kilted Scottish National Party candidate in a party broadcast (the broadcast depicted the other party's candidates as wearing underwear under their kilts, said to be the sign of a fake Scotsman, while the presenter checks and confirms the SNP candidate is a true Scotsman).Andy Murray, "Nat's advert star is serial telly hoaxer", "The Sun", 19 May 2001, p. 7.]

MacDougall won with a majority of 10,075. Within months he was facing criticism for lack of activity, being named by a "Daily Mail" survey as the third least active Scottish backbench MP.Isabel Oakeshott, "MPs who leave the House speechless", "Daily Mail", 3 January 2002, p. 15.]

Boundary changes

A boundary review cutting the number of United Kingdom Parliamentary seats in Scotland put MacDougall's seat in danger by enlarging it with parts taken from Kirkcaldy; it was rumoured that Kirkcaldy MP Lewis Moonie intended to challenge MacDougall.Fraser Nelson, Alison Hardie, "Deal struck to save Brown in seats review", "Scotsman", 7 February 2002, p. 9.] MacDougall was said to be "absolutely distraught" and intended to defend himself.Charlie Methven, "MP edged out to keep Brown in the Commons", "Daily Telegraph", 2 April 2002, p. 22.] He was mentioned as a potential candidate for the Central Fife constituency in the Scottish Parliament when Henry McLeish announced his retirement;Hamish Macdonell, "McLeish to quit parliament at next elections", "Scotsman", 6 September 2002, p. 1] however the selection went to his successor as council leader, Christine May. MacDougall won the selection for the new Glenrothes constituency when Lewis Moonie opted to retire instead.Hamish Macdonell, "Ochil veteran latest Labour MP to retire", "Scotsman", 2 February 2004, p. 2.]

Burns translation

To celebrate Burns Night in 2003, MacDougall had some of Robert Burns' most famous poems translated out of the Scots language into contemporary English to make them comprehensible for English guests.Lindsay McGarvie, "To a Sassenach: John translates Burns poems for English MPs", "Sunday Mail", 26 January 2003, p. 27.] When Labour MPs were reported to be plotting to get Tony Blair to resign the leadership in favour of Gordon Brown, MacDougall was quoted as a supporter of Brown in opposing the plotting as not in his interests.James Kirkup, Gerri Peev, "PM caves in and will make public promise on resigning", "Scotsman", 7 September 2006, p. 2.]


In May 2007 MacDougall revealed that he had serious health problems. He had had a lung removed after being diagnosed with asbestosis, which he blamed on his work in shipyards, but said that his doctor expected him to return to full health "in a couple of weeks".Scott Hussey, "Disease fight for MP John", "The Sun", 18 May 2007, p. 2.] In October it was said that he was likely to stand down in the event of a snap general election;"Drumlanrig", "Scotland on Sunday", 7 October 2007, p. 19.] however no election was called.

MacDougall was not recorded as having participated in any Parliamentary votes from early December 2007, and by June 2008 it was clear that his health problems were serious and there was a rumour that he would have to resign.Vincent Moss, "By-election Fear for PM", "Sunday Mirror", 8 June 2008, p. 8.] However another rumour said that he was recovering and likely to return to work."Drumlanrig", "Scotland on Sunday", 8 June 2008, p. 17.] MacDougall attended the House of Commons on 11 June 2008 to support the government on a knife-edge vote on pre-charge detention periods, giving an interview in which he admitted to having had an operation for mesothelioma; he declared his intention to stand for re-election."Cancer MP's vow", "Daily Record", 11 June 2008, p. 2.] However, MacDougall died of mesothelioma at 6 AM on 13 August 2008 at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.cite web|url=|title=MP MacDougall dies after illness |publisher=BBC News|accessdate=2008-08-13]


External links

* [ John MacDougall] official site
* [,9290,-6335,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: John MacDougall MP]
* [ - John MacDougall MP]

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