Peggy Herbison

Margaret McCrorie Herbison PC (11 March 1907 – 29 December 1996) was a Scottish Labour politician who was Minister of Social Security from 1964 to 1967.

Peggy Herbison
Minister of Social Security
Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
In office
18 October 1964 – 26 July 1967
Prime MinisterHarold Wilson
Preceded byRichard Wood
Succeeded byJudith Hart
Member of Parliament
for North Lanarkshire
In office
5 July 1945 – 29 May 1970
Preceded byWilliam Anstruther-Gray
Succeeded byJohn Smith
Personal details
Margaret McCrorie Herbison

(1907-03-11)11 March 1907
Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died29 December 1996(1996-12-29) (aged 89)
Lanark, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow

Early lifeEdit

Herbison was born on 11 March 1907 in Shotts, Lanarkshire to Maria Jane McCrorie and John Herbison, a coal miner.[1] She was schooled at Dykehead primary school and Bellshill Academy. She attended the University of Glasgow graduating with an MA in English in 1928. While at university she chaired its Labour Party branch.[2] From 1930 to 1945 Herbison worked as a teacher of English and history at Maryhill primary school and Alan Glen's secondary school, both in Glasgow. She also worked as an economics tutor at the National Council of Labour Colleges, and served on the Miners' Welfare Commission. During this time she was active in local Labour politics.[1]

Political careerEdit

After the death of her father in the coalmine in which he worked, his miners' lodge nominated her as a candidate for the North Lanarkshire constituency. She won the nomination, and subsequently took the seat at the General Election of 1945 from the Conservative Sir William Anstruther Grey.

In government, she held office as Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland from 1950 to 1951, as Minister of Pensions and National Insurance from 1964 to 1966, and as Minister of Social Security from 1966 to 1967. She was opposition spokesperson on Scotland (1951–1956, 1959–1962), Education (1956–1959), and Pensions (1958–1959 and 1962–1964).

She was a Member of Labour National Executive Committee, and Labour Party Chairman in 1957. In the House of Commons, she was Chairman of Select Committee on Overseas Aid in 1969–70. She was a British delegate to the Council of Europe, and is believed to be the only woman - among 101 members - to attend the very first sitting of the Council's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg in August 1949.

Personal lifeEdit

A lifelong member of the Church of Scotland, from 1970 to 1971 she became the first woman to serve as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

In 1970 the University of Glasgow awarded her an honorary degree.[2]

In 1970 she was named 'Scotswoman of the Year'.[1][3][4]

She died of cancer on 29 December 1996 at St Mary's Hospital, Lanark.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Herbison, Margaret McCrorie [Peggy] (1907–1996), politician | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/64016. Retrieved 21 July 2018. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b "Biography of Peggy Herbison". The University of Glasgow Story. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  3. ^ "1970 – 1979 | Scotswoman of the Year". Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  4. ^ Lane, A. T. (1995). Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313298998.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Anstruther-Gray
Member of Parliament for North Lanarkshire
Succeeded by
John Smith
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edwin Gooch
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Tom Driberg
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Wood
Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
Succeeded by
as Minister of Social Security
Preceded by
as Minister of Pensions and National Insurance
Minister of Social Security
Succeeded by
Judith Hart