Malcolm Rifkind

From Academic Kids

The Right Honourable Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind, KCMG, QC MP (born 21 June 1946) is a Scottish and British Conservative politician, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Kensington and Chelsea and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Welfare Reform. He is a patron of the Tory Reform Group.



Rifkind was born in Edinburgh, and first entered Parliament representing Edinburgh Pentlands in the February 1974 general election. He was appointed Junior Minister at the Scottish Office in the 1979 Thatcher Government and became Minister of State at the Foreign Office in 1983. He was promoted into the cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland in 1986. In 1990 he was moved by John Major to Transport, and became Defence Secretary in 1992. In the final years of the Major administration he was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Appointed a Privy Councillor in 1996, he was knighted in John Majorís resignation honours.

On 21 December 1988, Rifkind was the first British government official in Lockerbie after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, as Scottish secretary. After touring the wreckage, he gave the first indication that the plane had exploded. He told reporters: "The aircraft clearly experienced some form of explosion, which has resulted in many parts of the aircraft falling in many different locations--that we know. But what might have caused that to happen, I'm sorry, I could not even speculate." (Edward Cody, 1988). It would later turn out that a terrorist bomb blew up the aircraft.

In the 1997 general election he lost his Pentlands seat in common with all Conservatives in Scotland and Wales, and was succeeded by Labour candidate Lynda Clark. Rifkind stood again for his Edinburgh Pentlands seat against Clark in the 2001 general election, and improved his showing somewhat but was not elected. He has been a critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Blair Government's support of it.

The Edinburgh Pentlands seat was abolished, freeing Rifkind to look for a new seat to contest. In the 2005 general election he won the constituency of Kensington and Chelsea with a majority of 12,418. He succeeded Michael Portillo, who retired from politics at that election. On 10 May 2005 he was appointed Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. He has been spoken of as a contender to replace Michael Howard as Conservative leader. On June 7 2005 he stated that it was "quite likely" he would stand in the party leadership election. [1] (



  • Rights and wrongs: The European Convention on Human Rights and its application in the United Kingdom (SSC biennial lecture) by Malcolm Rifkind (2000, Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland) ISBN B0000CP0RH
  • Head to Head on the Euro: Kenneth Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind edited by Janet Bush (2000, New Europe) ISBN 0953636038
  • Conservative Britain in the 21st Century by Malcolm Rifkind (1996, Centre for Policy Studies) ISBN 1897969538
  • Hume Occasional Paper No.46: UN Peacekeeping - Past Lessons and Future Prospects (Hume Occasional Papers) by Malcolm Rifkind (1995, The David Hume Institute) ISBN 1870482433
  • Towards 2000 by Malcolm Rifkind (1988, Conservative Political Centre) ISBN 0850707889

See also

External links

Preceded by:
George Younger
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by:
Ian Lang
Preceded by:
Cecil Parkinson
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by:
George Young
Preceded by:
Tom King
Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by:
Michael Portillo
Preceded by:
Douglas Hurd
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by:
Robin Cook

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