AS Scottish Secretary of State in 1962, John (Jack) Maclay was one of the victims of one of the most wide-ranging reshuffles in Cabinet history - Harold Macmillan’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’.

Maclay and six other senior colleagues - Chancellor Selwyn Lloyd, Lord Chancellor David Maxwell Fyfe, and ministers David Eccles, Harold Watkinson, Charles Hill and Percy Mills - were dispensed with by ‘Supermac’: the sackings accounted for fully a third of the Cabinet. Macmillan biographer D.R.Thorpe said the events “were to be one of the most damaging errors of Macmillan’s entire premiership, and he was never to recover the initiative.” The sheer scale of the reshuffle shocked Westminster and the public, but political commentator Peter Oborne argued in 2012 that in skilfully selecting the replacements Macmillan “had hand-picked many of the resonant figures who would shape the future of the Conservative Party, while for the most part he had sacked a collection of deadbeats and non-entities.”

Maclay, who is pictured above with Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Mrs Jean Roberts, in 1960, and was created Viscount Muirshiel in 1964, died in August 1992.

In an obituary, Tam Dalyell said Maclay bore no rancour towards Macmillan despite having been “treacherously ill-done by” him (Dalyell’s words), but “displayed equanimity and generosity”, and that he went on to spend many years in public service in Scotland.