Brian Monteith

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Brian Monteith is a PR consultant and former Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament who was elected as a Brexit Party Member of the European Parliament for North East England in May 2019.1 Also elected as a Brexit Party MEP was libertarian pro-tobacco advocate Claire Fox. Monteith is a veteran campaigner against tobacco control policies.

Political career

A graduate of Heriot Watt University, Monteith was national chairman of the right-wing Federation of Conservative Students2 and then worked for Scottish Tory MP Michael Forsyth3 before becoming a Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament between 1999 and 2007. He represented Mid-Scotland and Fife and was a spokesman on education and then finance. In 2005 he had the Conservative whip withdrawn after being implicated in a campaign against the then Scottish Tory leader. He stayed on as an independent but did not contest the 2007 election.4

Business career

Monteith’s business career has been in public relations. He started in the City of London in the early 1980s before he set up his own business in Scotland, Leith Communications. Among his clients have been alcohol companies Budweiser and Fosters.5
Following the end of MSP career Monteith returned to PR with clients in Botswana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia and Uganda.6 He was subsequently appointed Director of Communications at Global Britain.5
This anti-EU organisation was founded in 1997 by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, Lord Stoddart of Swindon and Lord Harris of High Cross. It found renewed focus after the referendum on EU membership was confirmed in 2015. 7 Monteith was seconded to the Leave.EU campaign to be head of press.6

Criticising tobacco control

Monteith has always maintained strong links with right-wing think tanks some of which have in turn consistently opposed tobacco control policies. He has worked a researcher for the Centre for Policy Studies8 and was closely involved with The Free Society which was a campaign set up by Forest. The Free Society published his 2009 book Bully State which rails against a nanny state government, including measures to control smoking. In 2013 he was appointed the society’s web editor.3 The group appears to have become inactive in 2015.
Monteith is listed as an editor at Think Scotland which describes itself as a “virtual think tank which was set up to “encourage greater discussion in Scotland about economic, social and constitutional policies – from the perspective of mainly Scottish Conservative authors”.6
Monteith has been a consistent critic of tobacco control and was the Scottish spokesperson for tobacco front group Forest in the mid-1990s.9
He has regularly used his various columns in the Scottish and Tory media to write articles attacking tobacco control policies. That includes quoting research from the Institute of Economic Affairs, itself funded by tobacco companies;10 calling for an end to funding for smoking cessation;11 EU involvement in tobacco control;12 moves to bring in plain packaging13 and the bullying state in general.14

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  1. T.Embury-Dennis, ‘Height of hypocrisy’: New Brexit Party MEP for northeast England lives in south of France The Independent, 27 May 2019, accessed May 2019
  2. Conservative Home, The Federation of Conservative Students, Conservative Home website, 30 July 2006, accessed May 2019
  3. abS.Clark, Brian Monteith appointed editor of The Free Society Taking Liberties, 21 August 2013, accessed May 2019
  4. I.Swanson, Monteith to stand down as MSP, The Scotsman, 1 Nov 2006, accessed May 2019
  5. abGlobal Britain, Brian Monteith, website, undated, accessed May 2019
  6. abcThink Scotland, About Us, Think Scotland website, undated, accessed May 2019
  7. Global Britain, History, website, undated, accessed May 2019
  8. The Daily Telegraph, Direct Democracy, the Authors, 7 June 2005, accessed May 2019
  9. S.Clark, From the archives, Taking Liberties, 19 April 2014, accessed May 2019
  10. B.Monteith, Evidence-led policy doesn’t add up, The Scotsman, 2 September 2013, accessed May 2019
  11. B.Monteith, Smoke-free Scotland benefits only bureaucrats, The Scotsman, 21 January 2013, accessed May 2019
  12. B.Monteith, Will the persecution of smokers ever stop under Conservatives?, Conservative Home 6 August 2013; accessed 2019
  13. B.Monteith, How Ministers got tangled up over tobacco packaging, Conservative Home, 8 May 2014, accessed May 2019
  14. B.Monteith, State will keep on bullying us if we don’t stand up to it, The Scotsman, 30 October 2017, accessed May 2019