Congratulations to Sir Malcolm Bruce!

One of the highlights for me of the Queen’s Birthday Honours last month, as I wrote at the time, was the news that Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon since 1983, had been given a knighthood. This comes in his 30th year in Parliament and the 50th anniversary of him joining the Liberal Party.

Sir Malcolm is a former leader of the Scottish party and in that role made a searingly passionate speech to the 1992 Federal Spring Conference in Glasgow. Remembering it even twenty years on gives me goosebumps. Malcolm spoke for all of Scotland when he described his feelings of anger and betrayal over the Conservatives’ failure to deliver any sort of devolution. To this day, his speeches are a real Conference treat for me. He can do the knockabout political stuff with sharp humour, but his speeches have a scholarly, thoughtful, quality that always teach me something I didn’t know.

For me his knighthood is fully deserved for several reasons. Firstly, whether it’s challenging some deeply unpleasant governments over human rights, or, in his capacity as chair of the Commons International Development Select Committee, he is a wise, experienced and statesmanlike voice in international politics and relations.

Secondly, he’s worked tirelessly as an advocate  for people with deafness and hearing loss and remains a Vice President of the National Deaf Children’s Society, having originally become involved as his daughter was deaf.

Scottish leader Willie Rennie congratulated Sir Malcolm, saying:

This is a well deserved honour for a long serving and distinguished member of our party. He continues to be a strong liberal voice in Parliament and for his constituents

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is full of admiration for the Gordon MP, saying:

I want to know what Malcolm’s diet is because he clearly eats or drinks something that keeps him forever young. He is one of the most energetic MPs in the House of Commons today much as he was when he entered the Commons 25 years ago. It is amazing to see him run circles around MPs half his age in his tireless dedication to his constituents. He really is an institution in his own right in his own constituency but also in Westminster, as a chairman of a very important select committee. He is widely respected across party boundaries. I wonder whether his constituents realise how lucky they are to have someone who is not just a good constituency MP but someone who is really respected in Westminster. Westminster is a rough and rowdy place. There are not that many MPs – and Malcolm can count himself amongst them – who are listened to respectfully by all parties.

The impact that Sir Malcolm’s 30 years of public service have had, locally, nationally and internationally, make him a worthy recipient of one of the UK’s highest honours.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Malcolm has undoubtedly had an impressive career and I have a high opinion of him. But MPs do seem to get Knighthoods rather easily compared to other fields. There are about 15-20 MPs with Knighthoods in Parliament (ie out of 650ish) – many of whom could not be said to have been the at the absolute head of their field in the way is required in other areas.

    Eg in Cricket your talking about Bradman, Botham, Richards, Hadlee, Hobbs, Hutton, Sobers and the like. With Olympians Hoy and Redgrave. I always feel slightly harsh when making this point but I’ve said the same about Bob Russell, Archy Kirkwood and Alan Beith over the years.

  • Tony Dawson 25th Jul '12 - 7:55pm

    Without doubt, the best Leader we Lib Dems never had.

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