Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg

Alexander Andrew Mackay Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg PC QC (born 23 June 1940), known as Derry Irvine, is a Scottish lawyer, judge, and political figure who served as Lord Chancellor under his former pupil barrister, Tony Blair.

The Lord Irvine of Lairg

Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
2 May 1997 – 12 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Succeeded byThe Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Shadow Lord Chancellor
In office
18 July 1992 – 2 May 1997
LeaderJohn Smith
Margaret Beckett (Acting)
Tony Blair
Preceded byThe Lord Mishcon
Succeeded byThe Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
25 March 1987
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born23 June 1940 (age 78)
Inverness, Scotland, UK
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Alison McNair
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Christ's College, Cambridge


Irvine was born in Inverness, Scotland, and educated at the fee-paying private school, Hutcheson's Grammar School in Glasgow.

Later Irvine read Scots law at the University of Glasgow and became involved in debating with the Glasgow University Dialectic Society and at the Glasgow University Union, where he befriended contemporary Labourites Donald Dewar and John Smith. After studying English law at Christ's College, Cambridge, he taught law briefly at the London School of Economics and was called to the Bar in 1967. In the late 1960s, Dewar's wife, Alison, left Dewar for Irvine. Irvine later stated that the two men had remained on speaking terms, contrary to reports of a rift.[1] They later served in the same Cabinet. His first marriage ended in divorce, with his ex-wife subsequently moving to Canada.[1]


Irvine joined chambers headed by Morris Finer QC (later as a judge, Sir Morris Finer). In 1970 he contested the Hendon North constituency as a Labour Party candidate.[2] He became a QC in 1978 and head of chambers in 1981, on founding 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers. Among his pupil barristers were Tony Blair and Cherie Booth; at their wedding he dubbed himself "Cupid QC"[3] for having introduced them. In the 1980s he became a Recorder, and then a Deputy High Court Judge.

He was a legal adviser to the Labour Party through the 1980s, and he was given a life peerage as Baron Irvine of Lairg, of Lairg in the District of Sutherland, on 25 March 1987.[4] He was appointed as Lord Chancellor after Blair's election victory in 1997 after serving for five years as Shadow Lord Chancellor. Blair's predecessor as Labour leader, John Smith, had chosen Irvine as Shadow Lord Chancellor.

A highlight of Irvine's period in office was the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into United Kingdom law. Irvine devised a measure to maintain the supremacy of Parliament while allowing judges to declare Acts of Parliament not to be in compliance with the Convention. He caused controversy by ditching part of the Lord Chancellor's traditional attire.[5][6]

In addition to his traditional role of supervising the legal system, in 2001 he gained responsibility for a wide range of constitutional issues, including human rights and freedom of information.


Irvine regularly faced controversy as Lord Chancellor. Soon after his appointment in 1998, the Lord Chancellor's official residence in the Palace of Westminster was redecorated at a cost to the taxpayer of £650,000. Hand-printed wallpaper alone accounted for £59,000.[7] Much of the criticism devolved on Irvine, despite responsibility for the renovations lying with the House of Lords authorities rather than Irvine himself. Contractors working on the renovations were forced to sign the Official Secrets Act to avoid revelations of the expenditure leaking out to the public.[7] Irvine came under further criticism after saying that the expenditure was worth it because the redecorations wouldn't "collapse after a year" like products from B&Q, a well-known British D-I-Y store.[8]

Early in 2003 he was awarded a pay rise of £22,691 as a result of a formula designed to keep his salary ahead of that of the Lord Chief Justice. After an outcry he accepted a more modest increase. Irvine became an object of ridicule after he provided a copy of a speech - initially given at a private event - in which he compared himself to Cardinal Wolsey, to a reporter from The Times newspaper.[9] He was frequently thereafter drawn by political cartoonists wearing a Cardinal's hat and robes.


Following his retirement in June 2003 Lord Falconer of Thoroton was named his successor. At the same time, it was announced that the post of Lord Chancellor would be abolished. The plan to abolish the office was later abandoned, though it was partially reformed in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and is now used as a secondary title to the Secretary of State for Justice.


  1. ^ a b "BBC News | UK Politics | Lord Irvine's guilt over Dewar's wife". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  2. ^ "The fall of Derry Irvine". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  3. ^ White, Michael; editor, political (2001-02-20). "Why Tony and Cherie love 'Cupid QC'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  4. ^ "No. 50874". The London Gazette. 30 March 1987. p. 4265.
  5. ^ "Peers tense over tights". BBC News. 13 October 1998.
  6. ^ "Lord Irvine angry over wigs". BBC News. 10 November 1998.
  7. ^ a b Sylvester, Rachel; Winnett, Robert (29 March 2008). "Michael Martin's home gets £1.7m makeover". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  8. ^ "BBC News | UK | Irvine's attempt to paper over cracks". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  9. ^ "The Godfather". The Independent. 1998-10-11. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Mishcon
Shadow Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Preceded by
The Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
The Lord Falconer of Thoroton

1940 (MCMXL)

was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1940th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 940th year of the 2nd millennium, the 40th year of the 20th century, and the 1st year of the 1940s decade.

1940 in Scotland

Events from the year 1940 in Scotland.

Alexander Irvine

Alexander Irvine may refer to:

Alexander C. Irvine, American fantasist and science fiction writer

Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg, British lawyer and political figure

Alexander Irvine (MP), British Member of Parliament for East Looe

Alexander Forbes Irvine of Drum FRSE

Alexander Irwin, also spelled Irvine, British Army general

Christ's College, Cambridge

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter, was given a substantial endowment by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.

Within Cambridge, Christ's has a reputation for highest academic standards and strong tutorial support. It has averaged 1st place on the Tompkins Table from 1980–2006 and third place from 2006 to 2013, returning to first place in 2018.

Derry (given name)

Derry is a male given name, often an abbreviation of Diarmuid or its anglicisiation Dermot. It can also be a diminutive of Alexander. Among those with the name are:

Derry Beckett (born 1918), Gaelic footballer and hurler from Cork, Ireland

Derry Clarke, Irish celebrity chef

Derry Grehan (born 1937), Canadian guitarist with Honeymoon Suite

Derry Hayes (c.1928–2005), hurler from Cork, Ireland

Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg (born 1940), British lawyer, judge, and political figure

Derry Mathews (born 1983), English lightweight boxer

Derry Moore, 12th Earl of Drogheda (born 1957), photographer

Derry O'Sullivan, Irish poet

Derry Power (born 1935), Irish actor in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Derry Wilkie (1941–2001), British singer with Derry and the Seniors

Hutchesons' Grammar School

Hutchesons' Grammar School is a co-educational independent school in the southside of Glasgow, Scotland. It was founded as Hutchesons Boys' Grammar School by the brothers George Hutcheson and Thomas Hutcheson in 1641 and was opened originally to educate orphans, starting with "twelve male children, indigent orphans".For much of its early life the boys' school was situated at Crown Street in the Gorbals. In 1876 a girls' school was opened in the former Gorbals Youth School in Elgin Street, moving to Kingarth Street in Pollokshields in 1912. The Boys' and Girls' schools amalgamated in 1976 at Beaton Road where the Boys' school had moved to in 1957. Kingarth Street became the co-ed primary school.

In 2001, the school expanded into Glasgow's West End when it merged with Laurel Park School and created a nursery and primary school on Lilybank Terrace, although this has since closed. The building suffered heavy damage in a fire in November 2008.Today, "Hutchie", as the school is known informally, has around 1,300 pupils at Kingarth Street and Beaton Road.

The current rector is Colin Gambles BSc.

Inverness Royal Academy

Inverness Royal Academy is a comprehensive secondary school in the city of Inverness in the Highland area of Scotland.

A former grammar school with a history dating back to the 13th century, the Academy became a comprehensive in the mid-1970s. It has been at its present site in the Culduthel area of the city since 1977.

June 23

June 23 is the 174th day of the year (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 191 days remaining until the end of the year.

List of 1997 British incumbents

This is a list of 1997 British incumbents.

List of 1998 British incumbents

This is a list of 1998 British incumbents.

List of 1999 British incumbents

This is a list of 1999 British incumbents.

List of 2000 British incumbents

This is a list of 2000 British incumbents.

List of 2001 British incumbents

This is a list of 2001 British incumbents.

List of Honorary Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge

This is a list of Honorary Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge. A list of current honorary fellows is published in the Cambridge University Reporter, Special No. 3, 2008.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Bernard Bailyn

John Ball

Sir Rodric Braithwaite

Sir David Cannadine

Sir Anthony Caro

John Clarke

Linda Colley

Sir Jim Cuthbert Smith

Sir Alan Cottrell

Sir Michael Edwards

Sir Martin Evans

John Gregg

Yusuf Hamied

Sir Peter Hirsch

Anthony R. Hunter

Hugh Huxley

Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg

Phillip King

Richard Luce, Baron Luce

Michael Richard Lynch

Sir John Lyons

Neil McKendrick

James Meade

Sir Martin Moore-Bick

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma

Sir Robin Nicholson

Sir Keith Peters

Sir Hugh Pelham

Sir Christopher Ricks

Charles Saumarez Smith

Simon Schama

Sir Nicholas Serota

Quentin Skinner

Margaret Stanley

Barry Supple

Sir Jeffrey Tate

Andrew Turnbull, Baron Turnbull

Sir Dillwyn Williams

Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth

Oliver Wright

George Yeo

Yeo Ning Hong

Christopher Zeeman

List of University of Glasgow people

The following list of University of Glasgow people provides a selection of the well-known people who have studied or taught at the University of Glasgow since its inception in 1451. Historical lists of Chancellors, Rectors and Principals of the University are contained in those offices' respective articles.

List of barons in the peerages of Britain and Ireland

This is a list of the 1187 present and extant Barons (Lords of Parliament, in Scottish terms) in the Peerages of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Note that it does not include those extant baronies which have become merged (either through marriage or elevation) with higher peerage dignities and are today only seen as subsidiary titles. For a more complete list, which adds these "hidden" baronies as well as extinct, dormant, abeyant, and forfeit ones, see List of Baronies.

This page includes all life barons, including the Law Lords created under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876. However hereditary peers with the rank of viscount or higher holding also a life peerage are not included.

List of current members of the British Privy Council

This is a list of current members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, along with the roles they fulfil and the date when they were sworn of the Council. Throughout this article, the prefix The Rt Hon. is omitted, because every Counsellor bears it, as is the postnominal PC, as every Counsellor who is also a peer uses it.

The Council is composed mostly of politicians (be they from the British government, other parties, or Commonwealth governments) and civil servants, both current and retired (since membership is for life). Among those politicians generally sworn of the council are Ministers of the Crown, the few most senior figures of the Loyal Opposition, the Parliamentary leader of the third-largest party (currently SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford), and a couple of the most senior figures in the devolved British governments, including the First Ministers. Besides these, the Council includes a very few members of the Royal Family (usually the consort and heir apparent only), a few dozen judges (the Supreme Court Justices, the Senior Judges of England and Wales, and the Senators of the College of Justice of the Inner House in Scotland) and a few clergy (the three most senior Church of England bishops).

Malcolm Bishop

Malcolm Leslie Bishop, , is a Welsh lawyer.

Bishop, was educated at Ruabon Grammar School and Regent's Park College, Oxford, of which he is now Honorary Standing Counsel. He was called to the Bar in 1968 and is now a Queen's Counsel.

He serves as a Deputy High Court Judge, Recorder of the Crown Court, Chairman of the Isle of Man Legal Services Commission, Bencher of the Inner Temple, and a member of the Family Law Bar Association Committee and he was formerly a member of the Bar Council.

He has also been a Prospective parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, standing for Bath in February 1974 and October 1974.

As an advocate he has taken part in several notable criminal trials, including R v Carty, a gang-related shooting in Birmingham, R v Sivakumar, which was the longest murder trial ever heard at the Old Bailey, and R v Moinul Abedin, in which the defendant was convicted of plotting explosions.

Bishop is a Welsh-speaker and it was claimed that Rhodri Morgan, First Minister for Wales, had chosen him as his preferred candidate for the post of Counsel General to the National Assembly for Wales (now called Counsel General for Wales) in succession to Winston Roddick, QC, in 2004. Rhodri Morgan said that he did not know Bishop, had never met him, and had never even spoken to him. In his application for the job Bishop had submitted a reference from Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg, who had recently stepped down as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

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