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Joseph Paton Maclay, 2nd Baron Maclay[1] KBE (31 May 1899 – 7 November 1969), was a Scottish banker, shipowner, peer[2] and Liberal politician.


Family and educationEdit

Maclay was the eldest surviving son of Joseph Paton Maclay, 1st Baron Maclay, and his wife Martha (née Strang), two elder brothers having died during World War I. John Maclay, 1st Viscount Muirshiel, was his younger brother. Lord Maclay married Nancy Margaret, daughter of Robert Coventry Greig, in 1936. Their wedding was held in Paisley Abbey. He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge. He died in hospital November 1969, aged 70, and a memorial service was held for him in Glasgow Cathedral.[3] He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Joseph.


Maclay went into the shipping business and became chairman of the company his father had established, Maclay and McIntyre of Glasgow.[4] He was president of the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, 1946–47, Chairman of the General Council of British Shipping, 1946–47 and Lord Dean of Guild, Glasgow, 1952–54. In February 1947, he chaired the International Shipping Conference in London. He was a Director of the Midland Bank and Chairman of Clydesdale and North Scotland Bank.[5]

Parliament and other public officeEdit

He was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Paisley in 1931, a seat he held until the 1945 general election.[6] In 1951 he succeeded his father in the barony and entered the House of Lords. Maclay was elected as a Liberal in support of the National Government and prime minister Ramsay MacDonald. When the Liberal Party led by Sir Herbert Samuel withdrew from the coalition in November 1933, Maclay refused to cross the floor into opposition with Samuel. However he never seems to have taken the whip of the Liberal National Party, the group in Parliament led by Sir John Simon. At the 1935 general election he was re-elected in Paisley as a Liberal, although as in 1931 he had no Conservative opponent. This was because he did generally tend to support the government. Indeed, in the crucial vote after the Norway debate on 8 May 1940 which led to the downfall of Neville Chamberlain he was one of only two Liberals to support the government (the other was Gwilym Lloyd George).[7] Despite this, his personal relations with Herbert Samuel must have remained cordial as he was invited by Samuel to accompany him to a conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations held in Banff in Canada during the summer recess of 1933 to act as an honorary private secretary and before the conference they enjoyed some walking together in the forested countryside around Lake Louise (Alberta).[8]

During the Second World War, Maclay followed similar footsteps to those his father had trod in the Great War, when he was appointed Head of the Convoy and Admiralty Liaison, in the Ministry of War Transport between 1943 and 1945.[9]


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990
  3. ^ The Times, 14.11.69
  4. ^ The Times, 26.1.45
  5. ^ The Times, Obituary: 10.11.69
  6. ^ Catriona M M Macdonald, The Radical Thread: Political Change in Scotland, Paisley Politics, 1885–1924; Scottish Historical Review, 2000 p270ff
  7. ^ Roy Douglas, The History of the Liberal Party 1895–1970; Sidgwick & Jackson, 1971 pp229 & 242
  8. ^ Rt. Hon Viscount Samuel, Memoirs; The Cresset Press, 1945 p236
  9. ^ Who was Who, OUP 2007

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