First elected in 1969, Fraser's political rise was rapid, entering cabinet in 1975 as Industry Minister. He was one of the most popular ministers in the government, and within the Labour Party. Unlike most of his contemporaries Fraser didnt hail from either the left or the right of the party.
When Gordon Reid retired as Labour Party Leader in 1979 Fraser was elected as his successor by a wide margin.
Fraser led Labour to a stunning victory in the 1981 general election, winning an overall majority (the last single party overall majority to date in Scottish history). During the government's first time tehre was significant government investment in education and infrastructure, as well as more generous spending on the welfare state as a result of Scotland's new oil wealth.
Labour was re-elected at the 1985 election, although losing its majority it was forced into a coalition with the Liberal Party. His second term was hampered by a long and ensuing leadership struggle between Fraser and his Finance Minister John Cunningham, as well as a declining economic situation as a result of the 1987 recession. Fraser became uncomfortable with some of Cunningham's more free market oriented reforms. In September and November 1988 Cunningham challenged Fraser for the Labour leadership, failing on both attempts.
However as a result of increasing pressure, and fears about his personal health Fraser finally resigned in February 1989. He retired from Parliament at the 1989 election. He released his autobiography in 1996. He died of a heart attack in 2000, and was accorded a state funeral.
Andrew Fraser was born on May 11 1937, the son of Duncan Fraser (1910-1982) and Eileen Connolly (1909-1983). His father was a local solicitor, and his mother a school teacher.
He enrolled in the University of Glasgow in 1955, studying Law. He was active within the university Labour Club, serving as club secretary whilst John Cunningham was president. In 1957 he was defeated by Cunningham for the club presidency. He graduated in 1958 and became a solicitor, in 1962 he graduated from the bar.
Early Political Career
Fraser joined the Labour Party in 1952 at the age of 15, and was an active campaigner for Labour whilst at university. He attempted to be selected as a Labour candidate for the 1963 election, trying and failing for the nomination in several Glasgow seats.
The 1981 general election resulted in a landslide victory for the Labour Party, with Labour winning 101 seats in Parliament, giving the party an overall majority.
On May 11th 1981 Andrew Fraser was elected Prime Minister by 102 votes to 97.