Lord Forsyth: Thatcherite who rose through the Tory ranks

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MICHAEL Forsyth famously coined the term "Tartan Tax" as he campaigned against the setting up of a Scottish parliament.

Before the 1997 devolution referendum, the former Tory Scottish secretary repeatedly used the term when talking about proposals for the parliament to have the power to vary the basic rate of income tax by up to 3p in the pound,

The Montrose-born politician was one of the key right-wing members of the Tory governments of the late 1980s and early 1990s. No stranger to controversy, he once said that Margaret Thatcher was one of the most compassionate people he had ever met.

Before his election as MP for Stirling during the Tory landslide of 1983, he worked as a public relations executive in London. It was during this period that the then Mr Forsyth, an early, enthusiastic advocate of Thatcherism, was elected as a Tory member of the City of Westminster Council.

During his time there, he backed right-wing policies such as compulsory competitive tendering that were later associated with the governments of the 1980s and 1990s.

After his election to the Commons, he was appointed parliamentary private secretary to foreign secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe.

He was made a minister at the Scottish Office after the Tories re-election in 1987.

Two years later, he was appointed chairman of the Scottish Tories, at the height of Mrs Thatcher's unpopularity north of the Border over the poll tax. His appointment was reported to have been against the wishes of then Scottish secretary Malcolm Rifkind.

Mr Forsyth later returned to the Scottish Office and had a stint as an employment minister before serving as Scottish secretary during the last two years of John Major's government.

Arriving late for a press conference in Leith following the Tory wipe-out in Scotland at the 1997 election and the loss of his own seat, he said: "Sorry I'm late, traffic was terrible. I'd blame it on this government."

In the year of his defeat, he was made a knight, and in 1999 was elevated to the House of Lords and given a life peerage as Baron Forsyth of Drumlean.