Niall Macpherson, 1st Baron Drumalbyn

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Niall Malcolm Stewart Macpherson, 1st Baron Drumalbyn KBE PC (3 August 1908 – 11 October 1987) was a Scottish Tory and National Liberal politician.

The Lord Drumalbyn

Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
In office
16 July 1962 – 20 October 1963
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHarold Macmillan
Preceded byJohn Boyd-Carpenter
Succeeded byHon. Richard Wood
Joint Minister of State for Trade
with Edward du Cann
In office
23 October 1963 – 16 October 1964
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterSir Alec Douglas-Home
Preceded byAlan Green
The Lord Derwent
Succeeded byGeorge Darling
Edward Redhead
Personal details
Born3 August 1908 (1908-08-03)
Died11 October 1987 (1987-10-12) (aged 79)
Political partyScottish Unionist
National Liberal
Spouse(s)Margaret Runge (d. 1979)
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford

Background and educationEdit

The member of an important Liberal family from Inverness-shire, Macpherson was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Stewart Macpherson and Helen, daughter of Reverend Archibald Borland Cameron. He was the brother of George Macpherson and Sir Tommy Macpherson and a nephew of Lord Strathcarron. He was educated at Fettes College and Trinity College, Oxford.[1] He initially worked in business, representing a firm in Turkey. He joined the Cameron Highlanders from 1939, serving in World War II including in Madagascar.

Political careerEdit

Macpherson was elected Member of Parliament for Dumfriesshire at the 1945 general election. He served as Liberal-Unionist Scottish whip from 1950 to 1955, when he was appointed Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland by Sir Anthony Eden, a post he retained when Harold Macmillan became Prime Minister in early 1957. In 1960 he was made Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. Two years later Macpherson was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minister of Pensions and National Insurance. In October 1963 he was made Joint-Minister of State for Trade by the new Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home,[1] and the following month he was raised to the peerage as Baron Drumalbyn, of Whitesands in the Royal Burgh of Dumfries.[2] He continued at the Board of Trade until the Conservative government fell at the 1964 general election. He was once again a member of the government as Minister without Portfolio under Edward Heath from 1970 to 1974.[1]

In 1954, his membership of the London agency of the Dried Fruits Control Board of the Commonwealth of Australia gave rise to concern that he might be disqualified from sitting or voting as a member of the House of Commons by virtue of the Succession to the Crown Act 1707. To avoid this problem, an Act of Indemnity (the Niall Macpherson Indemnity Act 1954) was passed.[3][4]

Lord Drumalbyn was also chairman of the British Commonwealth Producers' Organization from 1952 and a member of the BBC General Advisory Council. In 1974 he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[5]


Lord Drumalbyn married Margaret Phyllis, daughter of Julius Joseph Runge, in 1937.[6] They had three daughters, Jean Stewart Macpherson, who married James Weatherall, Mary Stewart Macpherson, who married Philip Dudley Wilson and Howard Alvine Rees; and (Helen) Norah Macpherson (1947–1969), who died unmarried.[6] Lady Drumalbyn died on 13 August 1979.[6] In 1985, Lord Drumalbyn married Rita, widow of Harry Edmiston.[7] Lord Drumalbyn died on 11 October 1987, aged 79. The title became extinct on his death as he had no sons.[6] His widow died on 12 March 2014.


  1. ^ a b c Niall Malcolm Stewart Macpherson, 1st and last Baron Drumalbyn
  2. ^ "No. 43156". The London Gazette. 12 November 1963. p. 9249.
  3. ^ House of Commons Hansard, 11 May 1954, column 1157.
  4. ^ House of Lords Hansard, 13 May 1954, column 594.
  5. ^ "No. 46186". The London Gazette. 18 January 1974. p. 753.
  6. ^ a b c d Mosley, Charles (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th Edition. Crans, Switzerland: Burke’s Peerage. p. 3773.
  7. ^ Hammond, Peter W. (1998). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant: Addenda and Corrigenda. XIV. Gloucestershire, England: Sutton Publishing, Ltd. p. 838. ISBN 0-7509-0154-3.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Fildes
Member of Parliament for Dumfriesshire
Succeeded by
David Colville Anderson
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Browne
James Henderson Stewart
Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland
With: Jack Browne 1955–1959
Lord John Hope 1957–1959
Tam Galbraith 1959–1960
Succeeded by
Tam Galbraith
Gilmour Leburn
Preceded by
John Rodgers
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
David Price
Preceded by
John Boyd-Carpenter
Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
Succeeded by
Hon. Richard Wood
Preceded by
Alan Green
The Lord Derwent
Joint Minister of State for Trade
With: Edward du Cann
Succeeded by
George Darling
Edward Redhead
Preceded by
George Thomson
Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by
The Lord Aberdare
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Drumalbyn