Jim Wallace

From Academic Kids

The Right Honourable Jim Wallace QC (born August 25, 1954 in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway) is a Scottish politician, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Deputy First Minister of the Scottish Executive, and representitive for Orkney at the Scottish Parliament.



Wallace grew up in Annan, studying there before being accepted to Cambridge University where he obtained a joint degree in Economics and Law. From there he travelled to Edinburgh to read Legal Studies, graduating in 1977.

Political career


Wallace stayed based in Edinburgh as he entered politics, joining the then-Liberal Party. He failed to win a constituency at the first time of asking, the seat of Dumfriesshire in 1979. Four years later, he would earn the Liberal nomination for the seat of Orkney and Shetland, a safe seat previously occupied by Jo Grimond, and won election to the UK parliament. He stayed at Westminster for 16 years, until the advent of devolution in 1999. From there on he devoted his time to the Scottish Parlimanent, earning election for the Orkney constituency in the first elections to that parliament.


Labour failed to gain an outright majority in the first elections, forcing Donald Dewar to enter a coalition government with Wallace’s Liberal Democrats, and agreement under which Wallace became Deputy First Minister and Minister for Justice. He has maintained the brief throughout the first term of the Parliament, on two occasions standing in as Acting First Minister, firstly in 2000 due to the death of Dewar and in 2001 after the resignation of Henry McLeish. After the 2003 elections, he also picked up the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning brief in Jack McConnell’s cabinet reshuffle. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 2000.


On May 9, 2005, Wallace announced his intention to stand down as party leader and Deputy First Minister, to serve his time out in the Parliament until the 2007 election as a backbench MSP. He was adamant to retire from frontline poltics on a high following the success of the Liberal Democrats in the 2005 UK general election. The two declared candidates for the one member, one vote election that will decide his successor are Mike Rumbles and Nicol Stephen.

Affiliation with the Church of Scotland

Wallace is also an elder of the Church of Scotland, attending St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney.

See Also

Preceded by:
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent

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