Sir Nicholas "Nicky" Hardwick Fairbairn, QC
(24 December 1933 – 19 February 1995)

He was the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Kinross and Western Perthshire, elected in 1974 and 1979, and Perth and Kinross, elected 1983, 1987, and 1992. He was Solicitor General for Scotland from 1979 to 1982. He was noted for his criticism of theEuropean Union, his outspoken manner, and his flamboyant dress sense.

Nicholas Fairbairn was the third child and second son of Ronald Fairbairn, the psychoanalyst, who, according to Fairbairn's autobiography A Life is Too Short (1987) adopted the maternal role after his mother rejected him at birth. Fairbairn describes their relationship from when he could converse with his father, for the next twenty years until old age affected his father, like that of twins with his father treating him as "his equal and confidant". Fairbairn credited this relationship as enabling him to "withstand the trauma and rejection I felt... enabled me to feel secure for the rest of my life against any rejection or misfortune... made me profoundly in awe of father figures and left me with a consistent feeling... that I am still a child." Fairbairn also said he was named after Saint Nicholas as he was born on Christmas Eve.

He was educated at Loretto School and Edinburgh University, where he graduated with an MA and an LLB. At the age of 23, he was called to the Scots Bar.

In 1962 he also married into the Scottish aristocracy—his wife was the daughter of the 13th Lord Reay. They divorced in 1979. He started in Conservative politics by fighting the Edinburgh Central seat (which had been a Labour held marginal seat during the 1950s) in 1964 and 1966.

Fairbairn was Chairman of the Traverse Theatre and of the Edinburgh Brook Advisory Centre.

In the early 1970s, Sir Nicholas' career took off. In 1972, he was appointed a Scottish Queen's Counsel. After the former Prime MinisterSir Alec Douglas-Home announced his retirement from Parliament in between the 1974 elections, Nicholas Fairbairn was selected to succeed him. In October 1974, he won the seat with a majority of just 53 votes over the then-surging Scottish National Party.

His right-wing views endeared him to Margaret Thatcher, and when she formed her Government after winning the 1979 election, she appointed him Solicitor-General for Scotland. On one occasion he wrote that the functions of this office were "to form a second pair of hands and often a first brain for the Lord Advocate". At the time of the election of the 1979 Conservative Government, Fairbairn was the only Scottish QC in the Scottish Parliamentary Conservative Party, and it is thought that, as a senior advocate of some considerable achievement in the criminal courts, he fully expected to be appointed Lord Advocate. However, his colourful opinions and reputation are thought to have impelled the then Lord Justice General, Lord Emslie, to tell Thatcher that the Scottish judiciary and legal profession were deeply opposed to such a man as the senior law officer in Scotland. That led Thatcher to offer Fairbairn the secondary post of Solicitor-General for Scotland, and to invite the then Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, J P H Mackay QC, who was not even then a member of the Conservative Party, to become Lord Advocate, which post he accepted. (Mackay later became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 1985 and Lord Chancellor in 1987.)

Fairbairn was well known at Parliament for his flamboyant Scottish baronial tartan dress. He always carried a miniature (but fully working) silver revolver on a chain attached to his belt, and was reputedly the only MP to use the House of Commons snuff box

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