1947 - Born in Dunfermline, Fife
1964 - Started work at Methil oil rig construction yard
1978 - Became trade union shop steward
1981 - Joined Labour Party, becoming chairman of local branch
1982 - Elected as Fife councillor and served for nearly 20 years
2001 - Elected MP for Central Fife
2005 - Re-elected as MP for new Glenrothes seat

John MacDougall was Member of Parliament for Glenrothes and Central Fife from 2001 until he passed away on 13 August 2008.  Before that John had a long and distinguished career in local government, serving as Councillor for his home town of Burntisland, then as Leader of the Administration and Convenor of Fife Council. 

After a period as an engineer in the dockyard, he provided himself with good judgments on questions relating to the economic development of Fife and the training of young people. John’s experience at Rosyth Dockyard and at Methil, where he served as Convenor of Shop Stewards, was an ideal grounding in understanding the issues affecting working people.  

It was during his time in the Dockyard where John came into contact with asbestos.

John died from Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer.  From diagnosis, John survived for 2 and a half years, often in great pain and discomfort however no one would have guessed this, for he always put on a brave face and turned on a smile.

Discussions among family and friends have led to the formation of The John MacDougall Mesothelioma Trust. 

Early life

He began work as an apprentice caulker riveter at Rosyth Dockyard, but his main working life was spent as a boilermaker from 1964 at the oil rig construction yard in Methil. John later obtained a diploma in industrial management and a certificate in naval architecture studies. He became a shop steward for the GMB trade union, later full-time Shop Steward Convenor.


Fife Councillor

After joining the Labour Party in 1981, John was elected as a Labour Party member of Fife Regional Council for Burntisland the following year. He became leader of the Regional Council in 1987, formally as Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, leaving work to be a full-time Councillor, and serving until the Regional Council was abolished in the reform of local government.

John was elected to the new Fife unitary council in 1995 and became Convenor of the council when it assumed its powers in April 1996. John’s position as leader led him to accept several other appointments, including as Chair of the Rosyth Dockyard and Naval Base Coordinating Committee, a Director of Fife Enterprise, and Chair and Director of Community Business Fife Ltd. In the mid-1990s he led the council's efforts to keep the Rosyth base open, including writing to every Conservative MP to ask them to support a defence review not led by the Treasury. He was a member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention which established the framework for the Scottish Parliament.

Member of Parliament

When Henry McLeish announced that he would stand down from his UK Parliament seat in Central Fife on moving to the Scottish Parliament, John was selected as the candidate to take over this seat. John served two terms as the M.P for Central Fife and sadly passed away during his second term. He carried on with great determination and dignity with his work and attended his last meeting in the constituency at his Glenrothes office just two weeks before his passing.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said "John MacDougall gave more than thirty years of distinguished public service to Fife - as a councillor, Leader of the Fife Council, Convenor of Fife council and then Member of Parliament for Central Fife and he will be remembered as a true servant of the people”.


Donation Online button

Donation Online button

Donation Online button

Julie MacDougall
Scott Brady
(Family friend & colleague)
Kirsty McCulloch
(Colleague and friend)
Sir Menzies Campbell M.P.
Lindsay Roy M.P.


Registered Charity SCO41190             ©2010 John MacDougall Mesothelioma Trust             site donated by Canny Publishing