Stewart, John Allan (2 of 2). The History of Parliament Oral History Project
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Interviewee’s Home, Neilston, Lanarkshire
Stewart, John Allan, 1942-2016 (speaker, male)
Petrie, Malcolm, 1982- (speaker, male)
Part 2: Discussion of how friendships with other Conservative MPs changed between 1979 and 1997. Comment on prevalence of friendships and respect between Members of Parliament from different political parties. Discussion of changing social and educational background of Members during JAS’s time in Parliament. [04:31] Description of the 1992 General Election campaign and result, and the success of JAS in increasing his majority in Eastwood. Discussion of the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. JAS comments that he considered resigning over the issue of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992. [06:42] Description of MPs whom JAS was particularly impressed by in Parliament; mentions both Tam Dalyell and Robin Cook. [08:41] Description of ministerial career of JAS; appointment as junior Minister at the Scottish Office in 1981. Discussion of how ministerial role affected relationship with other MPs. Discussion of relationship between the government and Parliament; difficulties for the Conservative Party in Scotland. Description of difference between Scottish Questions in the Commons and appearing before a select committee. Comment that former highly political in comparison to the latter. Discussion of difficulties in presenting government policy in the House of Commons. Description of relationship with civil servants at the Scottish Office. Comment on specific problems; suggestion that civil servants can be resistant to change. Discussion of ministerial career between 1981 and 1986, and 1990 and 1995. Comment that JAS did not enjoy first period of ministerial office. Description of health problems suffered by JAS; advised to decline ministerial office by doctor between 1986 and 1990. [22:30] Description of reasons for JAS declining to stand for re-election as MP for Eastwood at 1997 General Election. Discussion of personal issues behind this decision. Discussion of how JAS has adjusted to life outside Parliament. Description of what JAS considers to be the achievements in Parliament of which he is proudest; specifically mentions the reorganisation of Scottish local government in 1995.
Life story interview with Sir John Allan Stewart (1942-2016), economist and former Conservative Member of Parliament.