I was born and brought up in the Vale of Leven and joined the SNP as a teenager after seeing Scotland’s voice sidelined in the 1980s & 1990s as our country continued to get UK Governments we did not support.
I have a MA (Social Science) from Glasgow University and a PGCE in History and Modern Studies from St Andrew’s Teaching College. A teacher for 10 years, I stood for the former Maryhill Parliamentary seat in the Scottish Parliament in 2007 and for the newly created Maryhill and Springburn seat in 2011. I served as a regional MSP from 2007 until winning the Maryhill and Springburn seat in 2016 to become the area’s first independence-supporting MSP.
In the lead-up to the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, I helped co-ordinate the IndyRef Yes campaign in Maryhill and Springburn, establishing a major Yes Hub on Maryhill Road and, along with a vibrant Yes movement across the constituency, secured a 57.2% Yes vote in Maryhill and Springburn.
Previously I have served as Deputy Convener of the Health Committee where I helped push forward welcome reforms to access to new medicines and have served as convener of the Local Government and Communities Committee. I have also been Convener of the Social Security Committee, a role which has saw me scrutinise the delivery of Scotland’s new devolved social security powers which, in contrast to the UK, offer a dignified approach to supporting those most in need.
At Holyrood I am currently deputy convener of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee and member of the Education, Children and Young People Committee. I am also a member of a series of cross party groups in the Scottish Parliament.
I established the Parliament’s first ever cross-party group on Racial Equality. I am convener of two cross-party groups, on Palliative Care and on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions, and have been working collegiately to improve service and practice in these areas. I would like to think I am a diligent constituency MSP and my office has handled over 10,000 constituency cases between 2016 and 2021.
I stay in the Summerston area of Maryhill and am married with two young children.
About My Constituency Office
Although the public see their MSP in Holyrood, much of my work is done in my constituency. I have five members of staff - all of whom work in my constituncy office in Maryhill. They help me with enquiries from constituents.
If I can help in any way, please do get in touch. My office team - David, Gay, Kirsten, Gavin and Nairne - will also be very happy to help in any way they can.