Michael Joshua Jardine (born April 30, 1946) is a Scottish conservative politician, he previously served as Prime Minister of Scotland on three occasions (1989-1990, 1991-1993, 1995-1999), he also served as Leader of the Reform Party from 1986 to 2001.
First elected to parliament in 1970, Jardine served in cabinet under Kenneth Munro as Minister for Justice (1978-80) before being promoted to Minister of Finance (1980-1981). He suceeded Munro as leader of the Reform Party in 1986, and formed a minority coalition government following the 1989 election. The government was defeated over its budget proposals, and following the subsequent election Labour were able to form a government.
Jardine led the Reform led coaliion back into government following the 1991 election. In October 1993 his government suddenly fell over a Finance Bill, and Labour formed a government without an election. The centre-right coalition returned to office following the 1995 election. The coalition were defeated at the 1999 election by the Labour Party led by Alex Wishart. Jardine remained leader of the Reform Party in opposition, until he was ousted in a no-confidence vote in 2001.
He remained a backbench MP, and only narrowly held his seat at the 2003 general election. He subsequently sought to regain the party leadership, losing to David Joyce. He returned to the frontbench as shadow foreign affairs spokesman, but was dropped from the shadow cabinet following the rise of Karen King to the leadership.
He remains in parliament as a backbench MP, and is the current Father of the Parliament.
Michael Joshua Jardine was born on April 30, 1946 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Malcolm (1908-1970) was a lawyer, and would later serve as Reform Party MP for Edinburgh Southern from 1957 until his death.
Early Political career
Jardine had been active in politics from an early age, joining the Reform Party in 1963. He became active in politics in his father's Edinburgh Southern constituency, and had his eyes set on running for Edinburgh City Council in 1971. In August 1970 Malcolm Jardine died, suffering a fatal heart attack, and Jardine was easily elected as his replacement. In doing so at the age of 24 he became the "Baby of the House".
He entered the shadow cabinet in 1976 as shadow Justice Minister.
Leader of the Opposition 1986-1989
Prime Minister 1989-1990
The 1989 election saw the Reform Party receive its best result in its history until that point, winning 59 seats. In total the Centre-Right coalition bloc won 95 seats, as opposed to 96 seats for the centre-left parties. However due to the conservative inclination of most of the independent MPs Jardine was able to form a minority coalition government, being elected Prime Minister on 22nd May 1989 by 99 votes to 96 with 4 abstentions.
The new government was faced with a difficult economic situation. Although oil revenues kept the Scottish economy broadly strong, the maintaining of the Scottish welfare state had, by the 1980s, become incredibly expensive. This, along with the Reform and Conservative party's belief in tax cuts and general reductions in public spending was to make the government's economic decisions particularly contraversial. The Emergency Financial Statement released in July 1989 called for substantial cuts to the Health Service, Pensions and the semi-privatisation of Scottish Water in order to save money. There was some considerably dissatisfaction amongst government backbenchers, particularly in the Centre Party, and Jardine decided to postpone publishing the 1990-91 budget from September until December.
The December budget was more moderate than the July proposals, but still insisted upon substantial reform of the wider Welfare State, with responsibility for the provision of services moving from the state to the private sector. The moves were still contraversial amongst the Centre Party, and as such the vote on the budget was repeatedly postponed. On December 23rd 1989 the budget vote was finally tabled, and after a lengthy debate was defeated by a vote of 95 votes to 99. Although the vote did not necessarily mean the government had to fall, the defeat of the government on a financial bill led to, in Jardine's eyes, an impossibly parliamentary situation. Immediately following the vote Jardine went to see the King, informing him of his desire to call a snap election.
Prime Minister 1991-1993
The 1991 election resulted in the fomation of a centre-right coalition government, the first time the centre-right parties had held a majority together in parliament since 1931.
Prime Minister 1995-1999
The 1995 election saw Reform's number of seats increase yet again, to 68, only 5 seats fewer than the Labour Party. The election saw the centre-right parties win 95 seats, as opposed to 96 for the centre-left, with the balance of power being held by the populist Scottish Democrats party, as well as Independent MP Joanne Unwin.