Sir Ian Clark Hutchison

Lt Cmdr Sir (George) Ian Clark Hutchison, former Conservative MP, Edinburgh West

Born: 4 January, 1903

Died: 2 February, 2002, aged 99

SIR Ian Clark Hutchison was a cheerful, slightly diffident, but amiable person. As MP for Edinburgh West between 1941 and 1959, he was a Conservative loyalist of the strongest hue.

Unlike his predecessor, Tom Cooper, who became Lord Advocate and then Lord President of the Court of Session, Ian Clark Hutchison did not hold high office, but his loyalty to the Conservative and Unionist cause and his capacity for selfless service were never in doubt.

His election address in May 1955 showed him to be a forthright and direct individual highly critical of the last Labour government. On peace and security, he issued this exhortation to the electors: "Do not endanger the nation by returning to power the Labour Party which, when in Opposition, has shown itself, not once but often, to be deeply divided on foreign policy and national security." He reminded the citizens of Edinburgh that there were more people in employment than "ever before in the history of Britain". In particular, he warned that "the Labour Party promises vast schemes of expenditure. But who will foot the bill? You will."

He was re-elected as he had been in 1945, notwithstanding the then landslide against the Conservatives. He told me that West Edinburgh constituents had always supported him well. By an astonishing coincidence, at the time of his death the Boundaries Commission came forward with a proposal which almost entirely reflected the boundaries of his old constituency.

He came from a political family. His father, Sir George Clark Hutchison, had been an MP and his younger brother, the late Michael Clark Hutchison, would be elected to serve the constituents of Edinburgh South.

Michael was a Euro-sceptic who told the British government in an adjournment debate in the Commons that they must make every effort to defend the Falkland Isles, which he believed to be under threat. Unfortunately, insufficient attention was paid to him, until the Falklands were invaded, and then it was too late.

Ian was 11 years older than Michael and was public-spirited and determined. He attended the Edinburgh Academy, the Royal Military College at Osborne and the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.

In 1916 he joined the Royal Navy as a cadet, and served until his retirement in 1931, but was recalled to service in 1939. From then until 1943 he served as a lieutenant commander with the Royal Navy in the Naval Ordnance Inspection Department, and his expertise on the subject of torpedoes was well recognised.

On his retirement from the Royal Navy in 1935 he took what is by now a well-worn path into politics, when he was elected an Edinburgh councillor, and from 1937-1939 was chairman of the public assistance committee. In the same year he had fought the Maryhill Constituency for election to Westminster, an opportunity which would come his way in 1941 when he became MP for Edinburgh West, a constituency to which he gave 18 years of service.

He was also a member of The Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers, and he took an interest in other good and worthy causes. For example, he served for many years on the executive council of the British Legion, and was a life governor of Donaldson’s School for the Deaf, close to his Wester Coates home in Edinburgh. In 1958 he was honoured by being made a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh in 1958.

In his hours of leisure he enjoyed "golf, fishing, walking and philately", which he listed as his recreations in Who’s Who. During the last 30 years of his life he was not actively involved in local politics but all those who came into contact with him at the time remembered him for his amiability and dedication as MP for Edinburgh West.

He was tragically bereaved by the loss of his wife, Sheena, in 1966 at a relatively early age and is survived by their daughter.