Michael was born in Northern Ireland, but from a young age was brought up in Scotland. He was educated at Strathallan and Jedburgh Grammar School before attending Edinburgh University.
After graduation he worked for a year as a Parliamentary Researcher for Lib Dem MP Archy Kirkwood and then joined what is now PwC, qualifying as a Scottish chartered accountant.
In 1997 Michael was elected to the House of Commons, representing the Scottish Borders. In Opposition he focused on Scottish, European and international affairs.
He served as Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition, legislating for more powers for the Scottish Parliament and negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement, paving the way for the independence referendum.
Record Of Delivery
As MP for the Borders, Michael has a strong track record of delivering for people in the area. As local MP, Michael has focussed his efforts on jobs and the local economy.
- Supporting local manufacturing, textiles, agricultural industries and tourism initiatives across the Borders.
- Working with local businesses and stakeholders to promote apprenticeships.
- Campaigning to improve local roads across the region and for the reopening of the Borders railway line from Edinburgh.
- Working to secure funding for better communication links through superfast broadband and improved mobile phone connections
- Worked with local communities to promote their areas, including chairing the Eyemouth Renewables Group, which champions the economic potential of the harbour’s development as a green renewable hub.
Michael lives in his constituency in the Borders with his wife Ali and young daughter Ella. Michael's interests include supporting local rugby teams, hill walking and films.
After his election to Parliament Michael served as a member of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, before taking up the position of Transport Spokesman. Under Charles Kennedy, he was made Deputy Foreign Affairs Spokesman, followed by the position of Defence spokesman. Under the leadership of Sir Menzies Campbell he looked after Foreign Affairs and under Nick Clegg took the title of Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
From May 2010 until October 2013, he served as the Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition Government. As Secretary of State he guided the Scotland Act through Westminster: the largest transfer of tax and spending powers from London to Scotland since the Act of Union. On behalf of the UK Government, he also negotiated the ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ which facilitated the independence referendum in Scotland.
In December 2013 Michael was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister’s Adviser on European Business. The role sees him working with businesses across the UK to understand the key trade, investment and regulatory issue affecting their dealings in the European Union.
In January 2015 Michael was appointed to the Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet as the party's spokesperson on Europe.
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