Menzies Campbell

Lord Campbell of Pittenweem

Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell is one of the most respected and successful politicians of his generation. He was MP North East Fife for over a quarter of a century between 1987 and 2015.

He was born in 1941 and educated at Glasgow University, where he graduated as a Master of the Arts and Batchelor of Law. He went on to study at Stanford University, California where he carried out post-graduate studies in international law.  He was called to the Bar in Scotland in 1968 and appointed Queens Counsel in 1984.

Ming held the British record for the 100 metre sprint between 1967 and 1974, and captained the Great Britain athletic team in 1965 and 1966. He still retains a particular interest in athletics

Ming campaigned with the Liberal Democrats in North East Fife in the General Elections of 1979 and 1983. His work in the constituency helped win the seat for the Liberals overturning decades of Conservative control. Each election he reduced the Tory majority, bringing the Liberals closer to winning, until 1987 when Ming won with a majority of 1,447. Throughout his career as an MP Ming and his local team achieved large Liberal Democrat majorities as his reputation as an intelligent and decent politician grew.

During his long political career Ming served as Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson between 1992 and 2006, a role that saw him throw his support behind Lib Dem opposition to the 2003 Iraq War. He went on to be Deputy Leader of the party between 2003 and 2006, before taking over from Charles Kennedy as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ming played a key role in turning the Lib Dems into a professional political party and he pushed for reform of the internal structures of the party to compete effectively against Labour and the Conservative Party.

Under his leadership Ming promoted many up and coming Lib Dem MPs to his front bench, including Jo Swinson as Scotland Spokesperson and Nick Clegg as Spokesperson for Home Affairs.

Sir Menzies received the CBE in 1987; was appointed to the Privy Council in 1999 before being knighted in 2004 for his services to Parliament. He became a Companion of Honour in the 2013 Birthday Honours for public and political service. He has been the Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews since 2006.

Ming announced he would step down from his seat of North East Fife ahead of the 2015 General Election. He received a peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours, and joined was introduced to the House of Lords in November of the same year.

He has been married to Elspeth Campbell since 1970, in his spare time he enjoys sports, music and theatre.


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