Martin O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of Clackmannan

Martin John O'Neill, Baron O'Neill of Clackmannan (6 January 1945 – 26 August 2020) was a Scottish Labour politician who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1979 until 2005 and as a member of the House of Lords from 2005 until his death.

The Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan
Official portrait of Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan crop 2.jpg
O'Neill in 2018
Chair of the Trade and Industry Select Committee
In office
27 November 1995 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byRichard Caborn
Succeeded byPeter Luff
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
14 June 1988 – 18 July 1992
LeaderNeil Kinnock
Preceded byDenzil Davies
Succeeded byDavid Clark
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
14 June 2005 – 26 August 2020
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Ochil
(Clackmannan, 1983–1997;
Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire, 1979–1983)
In office
4 May 1979 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byGeorge Reid
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Martin John O'Neill

(1945-01-06)6 January 1945
Died26 August 2020(2020-08-26) (aged 75)
Political partyLabour
Elaine Marjorie Samuel
(m. 1973)
EducationTrinity Academy, Edinburgh
Alma materHeriot-Watt University

Early life and careerEdit

He was educated at Trinity Academy, Edinburgh, at the time a selective state school, and then Heriot-Watt University, where he attained a BA in economics. After leaving university, he worked as an insurance clerk and then became active in the Scottish Union of Students, including serving as its president from 1970 until 1971.[1]

He married his wife Elaine Marjorie Samuel on 21 July 1973, with them going on to raise two sons together.[1]

Parliamentary careerEdit

After unsuccessfully contesting Edinburgh North in October 1974, he was a Labour Member of Parliament between 1979 and 2005, representing the Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire, Clackmannan and Ochil seats successively. He was a shadow defence secretary and later was Chairman of the Trade and Industry select committee.

House of LordsEdit

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that he would be created a life peer,[2] and on 14 June 2005 was created Baron O'Neill of Clackmannan, of Clackmannan in Clackmannanshire.[3]

Outside politicsEdit

O'Neill served as Chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction and the Nuclear Industry Association.[4]

He was a lifelong supporter of Hibernian F.C. and was a director of the club for a few years.

O'Neill was also a patron of Humanists UK,[5] and was one of the fifty signatories to a letter published in The Guardian in 2010, which called for Pope Benedict XVI not to be given a state visit to the UK, and accused the Catholic Church of increasing the spread of AIDS and promoting segregated education.[6]

He received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2011[7] and was an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[8]


O'Neill died in August 2020 at the age of 75.[9]


  1. ^ a b "BBC NEWS | VOTE 2001 | CANDIDATES". Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  2. ^ Tempest, Matthew; agencies (13 May 2005). "Labour becomes biggest party in Lords". Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  3. ^ "No. 57677". The London Gazette. 17 June 2005. p. 7919.
  4. ^ "Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan". Humanists UK. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Patrons". Humanists UK. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  6. ^ Staff, Guardian (14 September 2010). "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Honorary Graduates, November 2011". Heriot-Watt University. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  8. ^ "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 5 June 2019
  9. ^ "Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan, shadow minister who freed Labour from nuclear disarmament – obituary". The Telegraph. 2 September 2020.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Reid
Member of Parliament for Clackmannan and Eastern Stirlingshire
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Clackmannan
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ochil
Constituency abolished