Russell Johnston

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The Lord Russell-Johnston
RussellJohnston2.jpg
Russell Johnston (right) shares a joke with David Steel at the Liberal Party Assembly in 1987
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
16 July 1988 – 13 April 1992
LeaderPaddy Ashdown
Preceded byAlan Beith (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party)
Succeeded byAlan Beith
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Party
In office
1974 – 16 July 1988
Succeeded byMalcolm Bruce (Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats)
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
Inverness (1964–1983)
In office
15 October 1964 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byNeil McLean
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born
David Russell Johnston

(1932-07-28)28 July 1932
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died27 July 2008(2008-07-27) (aged 75)
Paris, France
Political partyLiberal Democrats (1983-1997)
Other political
affiliations
Liberal (1964-1983)

David Russell Russell-Johnston, Baron Russell-Johnston (born David Russell Johnston; 28 July 1932 – 27 July 2008),[1] usually known as Russell Johnston, was a leading Scottish Liberal Democrat politician and was the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Party from 1974 to 1988.

Early life[edit]

David Russell Johnston was born on 28 July 1932 at 39 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh to Georgina Margaret Gerrie (née Russell) and David Knox Johnston, a customs and excise officer.[2][3] He was educated at Portree High School on the Isle of Skye, and attended the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1957 with an MA in history.[3] After completing national service in the intelligence corps (1958–9) he trained as a teacher at Moray House College of Education, going on to teach at Liberton High School.[2]

In 1961, he won The Observer Mace, speaking with David Harcus and representing the University of Edinburgh.[2]

Political career[edit]

He was elected to the House of Commons and represented Inverness for the Liberal Party (1964–83) and Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Liberal Party (1983–88) and for the Liberal Democrats (1988–97). He also served as leader of the Scottish Liberal Party and as deputy leader of the [4] Liberal Democrats (1988–92). In October 1966, he proposed a bill of federal law in order to deal with the Scotland and Wales case.[citation needed]

Johnston was knighted in 1985.[5]

In the 1992 election, he made history by holding his seat with just 26% of the vote in a close four-way battle with Labour, the SNP, and the Conservatives. At the time, this was the lowest ever winning percentage for a candidate, until being superseded by Belfast South at the 2015 election. On retiring from the House of Commons in 1997, he was created a life peer as Baron Russell-Johnston of Minginish in Highland, changing his surname by deed poll to allow his forename to be incorporated into his title.[5]

He was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1985 to his death in 2008,[6] leading the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE-PACE) from 1994–99, and serving as the Assembly's President from 1999 until 2002. In 2003 Alija Izetbegović described him as "a great friend of Bosnia."[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1967 Johnston married Joan Graham Menzies a bank clerk, and together they had three sons.[3]

Lord Russell-Johnston collapsed and died in a Paris street on 27 July 2008, the day before his 76th birthday.[8] He had been diagnosed with cancer, for which he was receiving chemotherapy. While undergoing treatment he continued to work on human rights issues for the Council of Europe. At the time of his death he and his wife had been estranged for over ten years, although they remained close friends.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Scots Liberal leader dies". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Stuart, Mark (5 January 2012). Johnston, (David) Russell Russell-, Baron Russell-Johnston (1932–2008), politician. 1. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/99961.
  3. ^ a b c "Russell-Johnston, Baron, ((David) Russell Russell-Johnston) (28 July 1932–27 July 2008)", Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2007, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u33505, retrieved 4 May 2019
  4. ^ ALDE-PACE Group; accessed 12 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Liberal Democrat Lord Russell-Johnston dies on eve of 76th birthday". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  6. ^ Profile, Council of Europe website; accessed 12 February 2016.
  7. ^ Inescapable Questions (2003), page.424.
  8. ^ a b "Tributes as ex-Liberal leader dies in street". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 July 2008.

Obituaries[edit]

  • Obituary, guardian.co.uk, 29 July 2008; accessed 12 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Neil McLean
Member of Parliament for Inverness
19641983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber
19831997
Constituency abolished
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Mackie, Baron Mackie of Benshie
Chairman of the Scottish Liberal Party
1970–1974
Succeeded by
Menzies Campbell
Preceded by
?
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Party
1974–1988
Succeeded by
Malcolm Bruce
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Preceded by
Alan Beith
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
?
Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Party
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
1988–1992
Succeeded by
Alan Beith
Preceded by
George Mackie, Baron Mackie of Benshie
as President of the Scottish Liberal Party
President of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
1988–1994
Succeeded by
?
Political offices
Preceded by
Leni Fischer
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
1999–2002
Succeeded by
Peter Schieder