Michael (Mike) Watson

(Lord Watson of Invergowrie)

1949 -

Labour politician. Born in Cambuslang, Watson was brought up in Invergowrie and educated at Dundee High School, followed by Heriot-Watt University, where he graduated with a degree in Economics and Industrial Relations in 1974. He entered the labour movement, taking a post with the Workers Educational Association (1974-77) and then becoming an official with the Association of Scientific, Technical & Managerial Staffs (ASTMS) and then the Manufacturing, Science and Finance (MSF) Union, laterally based in Glasgow.

In 1989, Watson was elected a Member of Parliament representing the Glasgow Central constituency until 1997, when it disappeared following boundary changes. He lost a bitter campaign against another Labour candidate for nomination in a new Glasgow seat, including taking his party to court over the contested result. Later that year he was created a Life Peer as Lord Watson of Invergowrie.

Watson was a director of a public relations company in Edinburgh between 1997 and 1999, when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament representing Glasgow Cathcart. Subsequently he served as Convenor of the Finance Committee and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. Watson was noted for his controversial bill to ban hunting with dogs (1999).

Watson holds an honorary degree from the University of Abertay.

His political career lay in ruins following a fire-raising incident at a drunken party in Prestonfield House Hotel (Edinburgh) after the Scottish Politician of the Year awards. This brought a 16-month jail sentence, saw his resignation as an MSP and his expulsion from the Labour party.

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