David Mitchell

Born: 1933;

Died: June 23, 2023

David Mitchell, who has died aged 90, was a leading and long-serving figure in the Scottish Conservatives. Having been active in the party from the 1940s, he was chairman of the Stirling Association where it chose Michael Forsyth as its candidate and held several senior positions in the Scottish party.

Born in 1933 the youngest of three children, he was educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh. Commissioned into the Royal Highland Fusiliers he then joined the Royal West Africa Frontier Force being posted to the 4th Nigerian Regiment in Abeokuta.

After his national service he returned to London and underwent five years of training in all departments of Malinsons, the timber merchants. He returned to Glasgow and became a director of Malinsons in Scotland presiding over diversification into other materials in an industry with constant change during the decline of the shipbuilding industry. He was a director for many years responsible for hard woods.

Away from business he became very well known as an active member of the Scottish Conservative party. His first political outing coming in 1945 when as a school boy he campaigned for Thomas Galbraith, the Unionist candidate in Glasgow Pollok.

Later he was chairman of the Stirling Association and was elected as vice president of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Association and the president in 1980 for two years; he was awarded the CBE in 1983. It was his great pleasure to preside over the century celebrations of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Association in 1982 with then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

He was appointed treasurer of the Scottish party and served two terms in that post from 1990 to 1993 and 1998 to 2002. He was appointed chairman of the Scottish party in 2001, serving under three UK Leaders, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard and retired from that post and served as president for the party for five years until 2008 but continued to take an active part.

As chairman, David worked closely with David McLetchie resulting in a better than expected election for the Scottish Conservatives in the Holyrood election of 2003. In a time of political wilderness for the Scottish Party, David provided the continuity required to ensure party donors and supporters remained committed. Those foundations he laid allowed him to take great satisfaction in the renaissance of the Scottish Conservatives under Ruth Davidson, a candidate he was one of the first to support for leader.

In politics he was known as the ultimate “Party Man” showing great loyalty and commitment to the Scottish party even when the electoral tide was not flowing in its favour. His longevity in the high offices of the party ensured an encyclopaedic knowledge that many politicians came to rely upon. He provided many with wise counsel and advice and not to mention getting them out of the occasional fix.

He was a keen golfer and a member of Prestwick Golf Club in 1959 and became chairman in 1995 and captain for the year 2000. He was a member of the Royal and Ancient in 1970 and served for five years as chairman of the membership committee.

He is survived by Lynda who survived him and was a tower of strength through his long life and his beloved daughter Louisa-Jayne and granddaughters Olivia and Georgina.

Lord Sanderson of Bowden.