The Viscount Thurso
|Chair of the Finance and Services Committee|
6 May 2010 – 8 May 2015
|Preceded by||Stuart Bell|
|Succeeded by||Nick Brown|
|Liberal Democrat Business, Innovation, and Skills Spokesperson|
8 October 2008 – 12 May 2010
|Preceded by||Sarah Teather|
|Succeeded by||Vince Cable (2015)|
|Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson|
|Preceded by||Tom Brake|
|Succeeded by||Don Foster|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
19 April 2016
as an elected hereditary peer
|Preceded by||The Lord Avebury|
31 October 1995 – 11 November 1999
as a hereditary peer
|Preceded by||Robin Sinclair, 2nd Viscount Thurso|
|Succeeded by||Seat abolished|
|Member of Parliament|
for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
7 June 2001 – 30 March 2015
|Preceded by||Robert Maclennan|
|Succeeded by||Paul Monaghan|
John Archibald Sinclair
10 September 1953
Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, UK
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Spouse(s)||Marion Sage (present Viscountess Thurso)|
|Children||1 daughter, 2 sons|
Thurso is notable for having served in the House of Lords both before and after a period in the House of Commons. He first joined Parliament in the Lords as a hereditary peer between 1995 and 1999. Most hereditary peers were removed from Parliament following the House of Lords Act 1999. Subsequently, he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross from the 2001 election until he was defeated in the 2015 election by SNP candidate Paul Monaghan. He was the fifth generation of the Sinclair family to represent the Caithness area in the House of Commons. In 2016, he returned to the House of Lords after winning a by-election to fill a vacancy among the remaining Liberal Democrat hereditary peers.
Education, family and non-political career
John Sinclair was educated in Thurso and at Eton College. Thurso joined the Savoy Group as a management trainee in 1972 and following this worked for many years in the hospitality industry. He was a manager at the Lancaster Hotel in Paris (1981–85) and founding the hotel at Cliveden (1985–92) before becoming CEO of Granfel Holdings, owners of East Sussex National Golf Course from 1992 to 1995. Finally from 1995 until his election to parliament in 2001 he was CEO of the Champneys Group. During his time in this job he featured in the TV documentary Trouble at the Top – Shape up with Lord Thurso.
Lord Thurso comes from a family of Liberal parliamentarians. The former constituency of Caithness and Sutherland had been held by his grandfather, Archibald Sinclair, from 1922 until 1945. Archibald Sinclair was the 1st Viscount Thurso and a Liberal Party leader. Thurso has been married to Marion for 26 years and they have a daughter and two sons. The family live at Thurso, Caithness.
Thurso holds the Presidency of The Tourism Society and the Academy of Food and Wine Service. He is a Fellow of Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (HCIMA) (FIH) and served as its Patron for six years, until June 2003. He was President of the British International Spa Association, a Trustee of the Clan Sinclair Trust, and Patron of the Bluebell Railway 50th Anniversary Appeal. In that capacity, on 24 April 2009, at the railway's Horsted Keynes station he carried out the ceremonial renaming of the Battle of Britain class locomotive named after his grandfather, Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air during that battle. On 7 March 2016, it was announced that Lord Thurso would become the chair of VisitScotland. In August 2017, he was appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Caithness.
Following his father's death in 1995, he took his seat in the House of Lords as the 3rd Viscount Thurso where he became spokesman on Tourism and later Food Matters. Thurso spoke many times in the House of Lords in favour of Lords reform. His automatic right as a hereditary peer to sit in the House of Lords was abolished in 1999, and he did not attempt to remain in that capacity. At the 2001 general election, he was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.
He served as Liberal Democrat Shadow Scotland Secretary under Charles Kennedy, but was sacked by Sir Menzies Campbell. He has publicly gone against party policy by declaring his support for nuclear power, and his criticism of 24-hour drinking and wind power.
Lord Thurso was sworn of the Privy Council in 2014. Thurso lost his Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross at the 2015 general election to Paul Monaghan of the Scottish National Party. However, Lord Thurso had a good result in comparison with many Liberal Democrat candidates. Only four Scottish Liberal Democrat candidates were closer to winning their seats, including Alistair Carmichael; who was the only Liberal Democrat candidate to retain his seat at that year's general election.
In 2017, he was appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Caithness.
- Profile, burkespeerage.com; accessed 8 May 2015.
- www.directtourismservices.co.uk, Direct Tourism Services -. "The Tourism Society – People in all the right places". www.tourismsociety.org.
- "Academy of Food and Wine Service – The Academy is the Professional body for Front of House Service Personnel". www.afws.co.uk.
- "BISA Council and Associates". spaassociation.org.uk. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009.
- Profile bulleidsociety.org; accessed 8 May 2015.
- "John Thurso to chair VisitScotland". BBC News. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "Lord Lieutenant for Caithness: Viscount Thurso". 10 Downing Street. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- Parkinson, Justin (22 February 2011). "John Thurso: The hereditary peer who became an MP". BBC News. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- Uncredited (3 November 2001). "Kennedy boosts his frontbench team". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- Edwards, Rob (5 March 2006). "Nuclear power: splitting the LibDems and Labour". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- Lord Thurso was sworn of the Privy Council in 2014, gov.uk; accessed 8 May 2015.
- "UK Polling Report". ukpollingreport.co.uk. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "ISPA Board members".
- "Former Lib Dem MP John Thurso to return to House of Lords". BBC News. BBC. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
- John Thurso MP official site
- Profile at the Liberal Democrats
- Profile at the Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou