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John Maxton

Personal data
Date of birth5 May 1936(age 80)
NationalityBritish
Political partyLabour
In office3 May 1979 - 7 June 2001
Succeeded byTom Harris
Preceded byTeddy Taylor

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John Alston Maxton, Baron Maxton (born 5 May 1936) is a Scottish Labour Party politician.

From 1979 to 2001 he was a backbench Member of Parliament (MP) in the British House of Commons. He is a nephew of the former Independent Labour Party leader, James Maxton. His father, also John Maxton, was a conscientious objector in World War I, and the younger John Maxton was a conscientious objector in the 1950s.

He joined the Labour Party in 1970 and became a prominent campaigner as Vice Chairman of the group Scottish Labour Against the Market during the 1975 referendum. He was selected to oppose the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Teddy Taylor at the 1979 election in the Glasgow Cathcart seat. The changing demographics of the area and Labour's increasing popularity in Scotland made it a winnable seat, and Maxton's victory was made more likely by the Conservative Party's strident opposition of the Scottish National Party which drove some of its voters back to Labour.

Maxton was the only Labour candidate at that election to gain a seat won by the Conservatives at the previous general election. In Parliament he allied with the left in the Tribune Group, and voted against the Falklands War. In 1983 his constituency was redrawn to his disadvantage but Maxton ruled out a move to any neighbouring and more favourable areas; he therefore notionally gained his seat from the Conservatives again in the 1983 election. Maxton was a popular backbench figure but did not obtain much support when he stood for election to the Shadow Cabinet. He was a junior Whip in 1985 and a spokesman on Scottish Affairs from 1985 to 1992.

He stood down from Parliament at the 2001 general election and was given a life peerage in June 2004, as Baron Maxton, of Blackwaterfoot in Ayrshire and Arran.




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