David McLetchie

David William McLetchie CBE (6 August 1952 – 12 August 2013) was a Scottish politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 1999 to 2005. He was Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency from 2003 to 2011 and the Lothian region from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2013.

David McLetchie

McLetchie in 2011
Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party in the Scottish Parliament
In office
6 May 1999  31 October 2005
UK party leaderWilliam Hague
Iain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAnnabel Goldie
Scottish Conservative Spokesperson for Justice
In office
10 November 2011  12 August 2013
LeaderRuth Davidson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byMargaret Mitchell
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
6 May 2011  12 August 2013
Succeeded byCameron Buchanan[n 1]
In office
6 May 1999  1 May 2003
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Pentlands
In office
1 May 2003  5 May 2011
Preceded byIain Gray
Succeeded byGordon MacDonald
Personal details
David William McLetchie

(1952-08-06)6 August 1952
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died12 August 2013(2013-08-12) (aged 61)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyScottish Conservatives
Children1 child, 2 stepchildren
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

Early life and career

Born in Edinburgh, McLetchie attended Leith Academy and George Heriot's School and graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Law in 1974. He trained as a solicitor with Shepherd and Wedderburn, before joining Tods Murray where he was assumed a partner. He specialised in tax, trusts, and estate planning. In 1979, he contested the Edinburgh Central seat for the Conservatives, but lost to Robin Cook of the Labour Party.

Member of the Scottish Parliament

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party

McLetchie became Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party upon the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, having been elected in the 1998 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election. He was forced to resign as Scottish Conservative leader following a scandal over his expense claims in 2005.


McLetchie announced his resignation as Scottish Conservative Party leader on 31 October 2005, after it was revealed he had spent £11,500 of taxpayers' money on taxi fares, more than any other MSP.[1] The problem was not so much the large bill, but that he had used taxis for Conservative party business (as opposed to constituency business). His successor as leader was Annabel Goldie.


McLetchie was elected as an additional member for the Lothians region in 1999 and the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency in 2003. Following his resignation as leader, he had a short spell as a backbencher in the Parliament though he remained a prominent figure, his major successes from this period include his campaigns on free personal care and road pricing.

McLetchie was re-elected in Edinburgh Pentlands in 2007 with an increased share of the vote and his majority doubled. On his return, he was made Conservative Chief Whip and business manager, a role which was set to be more important than ever before; given the minority SNP administration. However, he lost his seat to Gordon MacDonald of the SNP in 2011. Although not re-elected in Pentlands, he was returned to Parliament as a "list" MSP for the Lothian region.

Personal life

McLetchie was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours.[2] He died of cancer on 12 August 2013.[3][4][5]


  1. Normally, regional MSPs do not have individual predecessors and successors. However, McLetchie died during a sitting parliament so was succeeded by Buchanan.


  1. "McLetchie resigns as Tory leader". BBC News. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  2. "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 8.
  3. "Ex-Conservative leader David McLetchie dies". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  4. "Former Tory leader McLetchie dies". BBC News. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  5. "Former Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie dies". BBC. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.