Alexander Ure

Advocate | Number 31

Alexander Ure (1853-1928) followed a similar career path to Robert Munro, also a Heriot Row resident. A brilliant advocate, he sat in Parliament between 1895 and 1913 as Liberal MP for Linlithgowshire. He held both law officer posts as Solicitor General and Lord Advocate before returning full time to the law and serving as Lord President, under the title of Lord Strathclyde.

Robert Munro rated him as "the most powerful pleader to whom it has been my lot to listen... I often sympathised whole-heartedly with the man on whom devolved the duty of replying to him".

He was renowned for his energy. When Robert Munro was campaigning for re-election in the north of Scotland he invited his friend to campaign for him over one weekend. Ure fitted in many long speeches at election meetings in Dingwall, Tain and Wick, travelling through snowstorms, speaking until nearly midnight and impressing even fishermen with his knowledge. Asked if he would at least take something to eat before he boarded the midnight train to Edinburgh, he replied "A glass of milk and a few biscuits and jam".

Questions about his integrity have been raised, in relation to the famous 1909 trial of Oscar Slater for murder. As Lord Advocate, Ure was chief prosecutor. Slater was later pardoned. It has been claimed but not established that Ure might have been part of an establishment conspiracy to protect the true killers.

"the most powerful pleader to whom it has been my lot to listen"