Gus Macdonald

The Right Honourable
The Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
11 June 2001  13 June 2003
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Mo Mowlam
Succeeded by Douglas Alexander
Minister of State for Transport
In office
29 July 1999  8 June 2001
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Helen Liddell
Succeeded by John Spellar
Personal details
Born (1940-08-20) 20 August 1940
Larkhall, United Kingdom
Political party Labour

Angus John "Gus" Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE, PC (born 20 August 1940)[1] is a member of the House of Lords, taking the Labour Party Whip.

Early life

Macdonald was born in Larkhall, Scotland. His father, a Highlander, had poor health and gambled. His mother, who was from a local mining family, worked multiple jobs to support and raise the family.

He won a scholarship to Allan Glen's School, Glasgow, but left at 14 to become an apprentice marine engineer at the shipyards of Alexander Stephen and Sons in Govan, Glasgow on the River Clyde[2] and where he was one of the leaders for the apprentices' strike in 1959[3] along with fellow members, Billy Connolly and Alex Ferguson.[4] Macdonald was leader of the Govan and Gorbals branch of the Labour Party's Young Socialists.[5]

He moved to London in 1962 where he was briefly involved in revolutionary socialist politics as a member of the International Socialists, living at the London home of its foremost member, Tony Cliff.[2] He has said that he returned to his political roots working at the Labour weekly Tribune around 1964,[2] where he was appointed as the circulation manager by Michael Foot.[3]


He has worked as a journalist on The Scotsman and as a member of the Insight team on The Sunday Times. Originally taken on as a researcher,[6] he was with Granada Television from 1967 to 1986[3] where he was soon appointed joint editor of World in Action with John Birt;[7] Macdonald had an association with the programme for many years. He also presented Granada's What the Papers Say as well as Right to Reply and "Union World" on Channel 4.

Macdonald returned to Scotland in 1986 as Director of Programmes for Scottish Television. After four years he became Managing Director, replacing William Brown in 1990. While at STV he overhauled the station's Current Affairs output and cut the core workforce from 800 to 330 [8] and the market value of the company grew from £50m to around £500m. The company took over two newspapers, The Herald and the Evening Times, plus the other ITV contractor in Scotland, Grampian Television.[9] He became non-executive Chairman of Scottish Media Group plc at the end of 1997,[10] and of Chairman of Taylor and Francis plc in 1998. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for 'services to broadcasting' in the 1997 Birthday Honours.[11]

House of Lords

A year after the Labour won the United Kingdom general election McDonald was made life peer on 2 October 1998 as Baron Macdonald of Tradeston in the City of Glasgow.[12] As a member of the House of Lords he was then appointed to be Minister for Business and Industry in the Scottish Office (1998–99), followed by Minister for Transport in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions, in attendance at cabinet (1999–2001) and Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (2001–03)

Member of Cabinet Office Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. Also member of House of Lords' Select Committees on Economic Affairs (2004–2008), and Communications (2009–).Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.[13]

Other interests

In 2004 he was appointed as an adviser to fund managers Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) Limited in relation a new European Infrastructure fund which aimed to invest in road and rail projects.[14] He is on Steering Group of the OECD Futures Programme on Infrastructure and Advisory Board of OECD International Transport Forum. In 2011 he was invited to deliver the MacMillan Memorial Lecture to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland an he chose the subject 'Bridging the Infrastructure Gap'.

Macdonald was installed as Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University in October 2007, succeeding Magnus Magnusson. He also served as a member of the Council (2006–2008) and of Court (2009–) at the University of Sussex and is Patron of the Dystonia Society.[15]

Styles of address


  1. "Birthdays". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. 20 August 2014. p. 35.
  2. 1 2 3 "Many faces of Gus". The Scotsman. 14 July 2001.
  3. 1 2 3 Jack O'Sullivan (31 July 1999). "Profile: Gus Macdonald – Lord of the roads". The Independent.
  4. Stuart Christe. Granny Made Me an Anarchist. p. 152. ISBN 0743263561.
  5. Paul Foot (11 April 2000). "Obituary: Tony Cliff". The Guardian.
  6. Peter Goddard; et al. (2007). Public Issue Television: World in Action, 1963–98. Manchester University Press. p. 46. ISBN 071906256X.
  7. Peter Goddard; et al. (2007). Public Issue Television: World in Action, 1963–98. Manchester University Press. p. 53. ISBN 071906256X.
  8. William Kay (2 January 1994) "Profile: Scourge of TV unions girds for new enemy", The Independent
  9. Keith Sinclair (19 July 1997) "Merger given green light", The Herald
  10. "Scottish government biographical notes". Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54794. p. 19. 14 June 1997.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 10835. p. 10835. 7 October 1998.
  13. "Register of All-Party Groups". Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  14. "Gus Macdonald to advise Macquarie fund".
  15. "Welcome to the Dystonia Society website".


Political offices
Preceded by
Helen Liddell
Minister of State for Transport
Succeeded by
John Spellar
Preceded by
Mo Mowlam
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Succeeded by
Douglas Alexander
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Academic offices
Preceded by
Magnus Magnusson
Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University
Succeeded by
Muhammad Yunus
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