Kyiv Security Forum

Sir Malcolm RIFKIND

Chair of Defense and Security Committee (2010-2015), Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1995-1997), the United Kingdon

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was born in Edinburgh in 1946. He was educated at George Watson's College and Edinburgh University where he studied law and political science. From 1967 to 1968 he was an Assistant Lecturer at University College of Rhodesia in Salisbury (now Harare). In 1969, he joined the Bar in the UK and practiced as an attorney until 1979. He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1985. In 1974 he was elected as MP for Pentlands and represented that constituency until 1997. Sir M. Rifkind was appointed to the Front Bench in 1975 but resigned over devolution in 1977.

In 1979, when the Conservatives returned to power under Margaret Thatcher, he was appointed a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, at first in the Scottish Office and then, at the time of the Falklands war, he was transferred to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, being promoted to Minister of State in 1983. He became a member of the Cabinet in 1986 as Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1990 he became Secretary of State for Transport and in 1992 Secretary of State for Defenсe. From 1995-97 he was Foreign Secretary.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was one of only five ministers to serve for 18 years, throughout the whole Prime Ministerships of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. This was the longest, uninterrupted, ministerial service in the United Kingdom since Lord Palmerston in the early 19th century.

In 1997 he was knighted in recognition of his public service. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Kensington in May 2010 and remained in Parliament until 2015.

He is currently a member of the OSCE’s Eminent Persons Group, which has reported on relations between Russia and the West. He also serves on the Board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington DC. He has been appointed a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London and is a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).