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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 17:47 GMT
Malcolm Bruce
Malcolm Bruce
Malcolm Bruce was elected an MP in 1983
More than 25 years of political battles have left Malcolm Bruce a hardened parliamentary campaigner.

His continued tenure as the Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon has taken many pundits by surprise, given the changing face of the constituency he represents.

He won the seat back in 1983 despite radical boundary changes and was tipped to lose it at the last general election after yet more alterations to the boundaries.

Pundits put the north east Scotland seat down as a safe gain for the Conservatives after 40,000 voters were removed and another 16,000 added from constituencies held by the Scottish National Party.

Malcolm Bruce profile
He failed in his bid for the leadership
However, Mr Bruce confounded the tipsters and turned his 1992 majority of just 274 into a 6,997-vote victory as the Conservative vote was almost halved.

The Boundary Commission has not thrown any further numerical challenges in the way of the Gordon MP as he gears up for this year's contest.

The 56-year-old has been a high-profile figure within the party he joined at the age of 18.

His attempts at a parliamentary career got off to a disastrous start when he lost his deposit after securing only 9.9% of the vote in North Angus and Mearns in 1974.

He was also unsuccessful when he stood in West Aberdeenshire five years later, although on that occasion it was as runner-up to the Tories in a close contest.

After eventually winning the Gordon seat in 1983, Mr Bruce held the post of Liberal spokesman on Scotland for two years before taking on the role of energy spokesman from 1985-1987.

North Sea oil

He was Alliance spokesman on employment in 1987 and was also spokesman on trade and industry from 1987-1988 and 1992-1994, and energy and natural resources from 1988-1992.

Mr Bruce was elected leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in 1990 and became known for his expertise on the issue of North Sea oil and his support for devolution.

He has also played a major part in Liberal Democrat conferences, at both UK and Scottish levels, and has provided support for almost every Lib Dem parliamentary by-election candidate since the 1992 election.

He is currently the party's treasury spokesman, as well as holding the post of president of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Mr Bruce put his name forward for the national leadership following Paddy Ashdown's decision to stand down in 1999.

The contest was won by Charles Kennedy.

Born in Cheshire, Mr Bruce attended Wrekin College, Shropshire, and St Andrews University, studying economics and politics, before going on to do an MSc in marketing at Strathclyde University.

He also trained as a journalist on the Liverpool Daily Post and worked in commerce for Boots and in local government for the North East Scotland Development Authority, where he became a prime source of information to those interested in the rapidly-developing North Sea oil and gas industry.

He established Aberdeen Petroleum Publishing in 1981 with a partner.

Mr Bruce is married with a daughter and has a son and a daughter from his previous marriage. He lists his hobbies as music, theatre and walking.

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