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Thomas McLaughlin McAvoy, Baron McAvoy PC (born 14 December 1943) is a Scottish Labour Co-operative politician currently serving as Opposition Chief Whip in the House of Lords.

The Lord McAvoy

Official portrait of Lord McAvoy crop 2.jpg
Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Lords
Assumed office
25 January 2018
Preceded bySteve Bassam
Opposition Deputy Chief Whip in House of Lords
In office
27 May 2015 – 24 January 2018
Serving with Denis Tunnicliffe
Preceded byAngela Smith of Basildon
Treasurer of the Household
Deputy Chief Whip
In office
5 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byNick Brown
Succeeded byJohn Randall
Comptroller of the Household
In office
2 May 1997 – 5 October 2008
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded byTimothy Wood
Succeeded byJohn Spellar
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
22 June 2010
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Rutherglen and Hamilton West
Glasgow Rutherglen (1987–2005)
In office
12 June 1987 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byJames Gregor Mackenzie
Succeeded byTom Greatrex
Personal details
Born (1943-12-14) 14 December 1943 (age 75)
Political partyLabour Co-operative
Spouse(s)Eleanor McAvoy

McAvoy was a Member of Parliament for over 20 years, firstly as MP for Glasgow Rutherglen from 1987 to 2005 and then for Rutherglen and Hamilton West from 2005 to 2010.[1]

He held several positions in the Commons Government Whips Office, including Comptroller of the Household (Government Pairing Whip) from 1997 to 2008, then Treasurer of the Household (Government Deputy Chief Whip) from 2008 to 2010.

He entered the Lords after retiring as an MP shortly after the 2010 General Election, where he served as an Opposition Spokesperson for Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as a Senior Whip.

Early life and careerEdit

Tommy McAvoy was born in Rutherglen on 14 December 1943. McAvoy worked as a storeman at the Hoover factory in Cambuslang, and was a shop steward for the Amalgamated Engineering Union; following the succession of trade union mergers, he is now a member of Unite the Union (Amicus Section).

In 1982, McAvoy was elected to Strathclyde Regional Council, and served until 1987.

Parliamentary careerEdit

McAvy was elected to Parliament in 1987 as the Scottish Labour and Co-operative Member for Glasgow Rutherglen. From 2005 to 2010, he sat as the member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

He was an opposition whip from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1996 to 1997.

When the Labour Party came into government in 1997, McAvoy was appointed as Comptroller of HM Household, the third highest position in the Government Whips' office. He retained the same job until 2008, becoming one of the longest serving Comptrollers in history. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2003. In October 2008, he was promoted to Treasurer of the Household and Deputy Chief Whip.

McAvoy has achieved the rare feat among whips of remaining popular with Labour MPs. An early day motion in July 2006 noted "the difficult task he has of securing government business whilst accommodating the parliamentary, political and personal requirements of 352 Labour colleagues" and congratulated him for "the respect he has earned from all sides of the House for his ability to perform these duties"; it was signed by 135 MPs.[2]

On 20 February 2010, McAvoy announced that he would stand down at the next general election.[3] The seat was retained by Labour with the election of Tom Greatrex. On 22 June 2010, McAvoy was created a life peer as Baron McAvoy, of Rutherglen in Lanarkshire,[4] and was introduced in the House of Lords that day.[5]

He remains to this day the longest serving Government Whip in the history of parliament with 13 years and 10 days service in the Government Whips Office. According to The Guardian: "...[his] personal crusades have been for peace in Northern Ireland and against abortion" (Andrew Roth, The Guardian).

Since his introduction to the Lords, he served as a Senior Whip. in 2012 he took on the role of Opposition Spokesman for Scotland and Northern Ireland. In May 2015, after the election of Angela Smith as Leader of the Opposition in the Lords, he took over as Opposition Deputy Chief Whip in House of Lords, serving with Denis Tunnicliffe.[6]

On Wednesday 24 January 2018, he was elected Labour Chief Whip in the House of Lords and therefore Opposition Chief Whip, taking over from Steve Bassam.

Personal lifeEdit

McAvoy and his wife Eleanor have four sons.

His brother Eddie McAvoy is a local politician who served as the leader of South Lanarkshire Council from 1999 to 2017.[7]


  1. ^ "Former whip Tommy McAvoy takes seat in House of Lords". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  2. ^ Early Day Motion – EDM 2597
  3. ^ "Longest-serving whip Tommy McAvoy MP to retire". BBC News Online. 20 February 2010.
  4. ^ "No. 59470". The London Gazette. 25 June 2010. p. 12025.
  5. ^ Today in the Lords
  6. ^
  7. ^ South Lanarkshire Council leader Eddie McAvoy to stand down at next election (Daily Record, 2016)

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gregor Mackenzie
Member of Parliament for Glasgow Rutherglen
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Rutherglen and Hamilton West
Succeeded by
Tom Greatrex
Political offices
Preceded by
Timothy Wood
Comptroller of the Household
Succeeded by
John Spellar
Preceded by
Nick Brown
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
John Randall
Party political offices
Preceded by
Steve Bassam
Labour Chief Whip of the House of Lords