Nicholas Fairbairn
British politician
Nicholas Fairbairn
Nicholas Hardwick Fairbairn, QC was a British politician. He was the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Kinross and Western Perthshire, elected in 1974 and 1979, and Perth and Kinross, elected 1983, 1987, and 1992. He was Solicitor General for Scotland from 1979 to 1982. He was noted for his criticism of the European Union, his outspoken manner, and his colourful dress sense.
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Yes, we can (if we have to) - New Statesman
Google News - over 5 years
I have not spent time with two people who have so little in common since, in my youth, I mistakenly went to a nightclub with Edwina Currie and Sir Nicholas Fairbairn. There were efforts at conversation, Dave stolidly keeping up a commentary on the
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LONDON JOURNAL; History or Heresy? Churchill's War Role Attacked
NYTimes - about 24 years
With a sudden ferocity, scholars, amateur historians and even politicians here have joined an emotional debate that seems as strange as it is inflammatory. Would Britain be better off today had Churchill been more willing in World War II to negotiate an earlier end to the fighting with Germany? Over the last week, whoe pages of London newspapers
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NYTimes article
LONDON JOURNAL; History or Heresy? Churchill's War Role Attacked
NYTimes - about 24 years
With a sudden ferocity, scholars, amateur historians and even politicians here have joined an emotional debate that seems as strange as it is inflammatory. Would Britain be better off today had Churchill been more willing in World War II to negotiate an earlier end to the fighting with Germany? Over the last week, whoe pages of London newspapers
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NYTimes article
NYTimes - about 32 years
A former Government official told the House of Commons today that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had rejected sexual advances from a drunken dignitary by telling him, ''I just don't think you would make it at the moment.'' The former official, Nicholas Fairbairn, Solicitor General for Scotland from 1979 to 1982, did not identify the dignitary. He
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NYTimes - over 32 years
The Archbishop of Canterbury has accused Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of pursuing ''confrontation'' politics and suggested that her economic policies hurt people more than they help. The Archbishop, the Most Rev. Robert Runcie, was quoted today as having said, ''There seems to be a movement from consensus to confrontation.'' In an interview
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NYTimes article
AROUND THE WORLD; Seychelles Defendant Unexpectedly Set Free
NYTimes - over 34 years
A South African-born woman charged with treason in connection with a bungled coup in the Seychelles last November was unexpectedly set free today in the courtroom where she and six white men were on trial for their lives. Earlier, Chief Justice Earle Seaton overruled a defense submission that the seven accused could not be tried for treason, the
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NYTimes - about 35 years
Several unrelated cases of rape have aroused a growing controversy in Britain in the past two weeks, fueling a debate among women's organizations, legal groups and Parliament. One of the cases, the particularly brutal rape of a Glasgow woman in 1980, led to the forced resignation Thursday of Nicholas Fairbairn, the Solicitor General for Scotland.
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NYTimes - over 35 years
On the same day that John McEnroe threw a temper tantrum on the No. 1 court, a woman sat in the umpire's chair for the first time on center court at the All England Club. No place showcases the shifting, unsettled world of professional tennis better than Wimbledon. On the one hand, the All England Club treasures its grass courts, 2 P.M. starts,
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Nicholas Fairbairn
  • 1995
    Age 61
    Fairbairn had stated that he would stand down as an MP at the next general election (which was eventually held in 1997), but the years of heavy drinking had finally had taken their toll and he died in office in 1995, aged 61.
    More Details Hide Details This triggered a by-election and his seat was won by Roseanna Cunningham of the Scottish National Party (SNP). In August 2014 it was suggested Fairbairn may have abused boys at Elm Guest House, where youngsters from children's homes were allegedly sexually assaulted by high-profile visitors.
  • 1994
    Age 60
    During debates in 1994 regarding the age of consent in the House of Commons, Fairbairn was called to order by the Speaker after starting a description of the mechanics of sodomy.
    More Details Hide Details Outside Parliament, Fairbairn was a keen painter (and was occasionally spotted drawing cartoons of other MPs during Committee sessions). He was also a gifted landscape gardener, and remodelled the crumbling Fordell Castle into a family home.
    In October 1994, along with Alan Clark and Edwina Currie, he immediately told Neil Hamilton to stand down when the cash for questions scandal broke.
    More Details Hide Details Hamilton refused to do so at first and resigned only when forced, five days after the scandal broke.
  • 1992
    Age 58
    In the 1992 election campaign Fairbairn caused a controversy when he claimed, "Under a Labour government this country would be swamped with immigrants of every colour and race on any excuse of asylum or bogus marriage or just plain deception".
    More Details Hide Details He further claimed that such people would be permitted to vote for the Labour-proposed Scottish Parliament, whereas people born in Scotland who happened to live in England would not. Former Deputy Prime Minister Viscount Whitelaw cancelled an engagement to speak in support of Fairbairn's candidacy in the marginal seat. Fairbairn, however, had some views that might be classed as progressive. He was fiercely and personally opposed to capital punishment, after having himself appeared in 17 capital cases. He explained, "As the defending counsel, I am put on trial because, if I make a mistake, ask the wrong question or appear in the wrong way, the man may go to the trap". He was proud of obtaining two royal pardons for wrongful convictions of murder.
  • 1990
    Age 56
    Fairbairn became a marginal political figure with the departure of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details He described her successor John Major as a "ventriloquist's dummy" and, when asked whether he stood by the comment, said that greyness was a creeping disease in politics.
  • 1988
    Age 54
    Fairbairn was knighted in 1988.
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    He also criticised Scottish performers Simple Minds and Annie Lennox for taking part in the 1988 Wembley Stadium Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert, describing them as "left wing scum".
    More Details Hide Details Fairbairn was quoted: "These so-called stars like Annie Lennox and Jim Kerr are just out to line their own pockets. and what Annie Lennox and Jim Kerr said at Wembley came out of no love for Nelson Mandela. It came from a desire to make money."
  • 1983
    Age 49
    In 1983 he married Lady Sam Fairbairn (1942-2002), for 14 years the chatelaine of the fairy-tale 13th century Fordell Castle in Fife.
    More Details Hide Details She was born in Pakistan in 1942 as Suzanne Mary Wheeler, the daughter of a professional soldier, and spent her formative years in Kenya. Whilst still married to her first husband she first encountered Nicholas Fairbairn in Edinburgh. He was known for his outrageous behavior, constant infidelities, and routinely calling other MPs 'twerps' or 'hags' and describing women who brought rape cases as "tauntresses". Through it all, she stood by him and nursed her husband devotedly before he died from cirrhosis of the liver. Scarcely was the funeral over, however, than she learnt that he had a secret son, conceived during the early days of their marriage. "It makes mourning easier," she claimed at the time. She subsequently sold Fordell Castle, talked of reverting to her maiden name, and burnt Sir Nicholas's wardrobe of clothes. She also later found herself in dispute with Sir Nicholas's three daughters from an earlier marriage whom, on his deathbed, he had cut out of his will. Her response was to give the children (including the "love-child") £10,000 apiece and their pick of the castle's contents - and then disappear into hiding. In November 2007 Fordell Castle was sold for £3,850,000.
    In 1983 Fairbairn was elected an honorary Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and he became a Trustee of the Royal Museums of Scotland in 1987.
    More Details Hide Details He was also President of the Society for the Preservation of Duddingston Village (an eastern suburb of Edinburgh). He called members of Throbbing Gristle "wreckers of civilisation" in 1976 in a row over public funding of the arts.
  • 1981
    Age 47
    He had a mistress, Pamela Milne, who attempted suicide at his London home in 1981.
    More Details Hide Details Just as it seemed he had managed to survive, a major controversy emerged in Glasgow. A prosecution was dropped in a case involving the gang rape and mutilation of a young prostitute after doctors determined she was too traumatized to serve as a credible witness. One journalist telephoned the Solicitor-General to ask why, and Fairbairn told him. This was a major breach of protocol, and Fairbairn had to resign. After a media campaign a private prosecution was brought by the victim in 1982 under ancient Scottish law. It was known as the Carol X case. All three of the perpetrators were convicted, with one sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • 1979
    Age 45
    His right-wing views endeared him to Margaret Thatcher, and when she formed her Government after winning the 1979 election she appointed him Solicitor-General for Scotland.
    More Details Hide Details On one occasion he wrote that the functions of this office were "to form a second pair of hands and often a first brain for the Lord Advocate". When the Conservatives were elected Fairbairn was the only Scottish QC in the Scottish Parliamentary Conservative Party, and it is thought that as a senior advocate of some considerable achievement in the criminal courts, he fully expected to be appointed Lord Advocate. However, his colourful opinions and reputation are thought to have impelled the then Lord Justice General, Lord Emslie, to tell Thatcher that the Scottish judiciary and legal profession were deeply opposed to having such a man as the senior law officer in Scotland. That led Thatcher to offer Fairbairn the secondary post of Solicitor-General for Scotland, and give the post of Lord Advocate to the then Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, J P H Mackay QC, who was then not even a member of the Conservative Party.
  • 1974
    Age 40
    He won the seat in October 1974 with a majority of just 53 votes over the then-surging Scottish National Party.
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    After the former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home announced his retirement from Parliament between the 1974 elections, Fairbairn was selected to succeed him.
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  • 1972
    Age 38
    In 1972 he was appointed a Scottish Queen's Counsel (QC).
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  • 1964
    Age 30
    He started in Conservative politics by fighting the Edinburgh Central seat (which had been a Labour-held marginal seat during the 1950s) in 1964 and 1966.
    More Details Hide Details Fairbairn's career took off in the early 1970s.
  • 1962
    Age 28
    In 1962 he married into the Scottish aristocracy - his wife, Hon. Elizabeth Mackay, was the daughter of the 13th Lord Reay. They divorced in 1979.
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  • 1933
    Born in 1933.
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