Alistair was elected to Parliament in 2001 as MP for Orkney and Shetland.
Alistair was born and raised on Islay. He first worked in the hotel industry before attending University of Aberdeen where he graduated with a degree in Law in 1992. After graduating, Alistair worked as a Procurator Fiscal Depute then moved into private practice as a solicitor.
He married his wife Kate in 1987 and they live in Orkney with their two sons, Sandy and Simon.
Record Of Delivery
Since becoming an MP in 2001, Alistair has campaigned on a range of issues important to people in the Northern Isles, such as farming, fishing, offshore oil and gas, and more recently the development of renewables. He is also well-known for his work on human rights and has been an active campaigner for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
In the Coalition Government, Alistair has held two ministerial positions. Since 2010 the Coalition Government has supported Orkney and Shetland in a number of ways, including:
- Ensuring the coastguard station in Shetland was retained and will continue to provide 24-hours a day emergency assistance within the Northern Isles and beyond
- Successfully arguing for a 5 pence-per-litre fuel duty cut for Orkney and Shetland, helping to keep down the cost of fuel in the Isles
- Protecting Isles waters by securing the support of two emergency tug vessels for Shetland, through a deal brokered between the UK government and BP
- Securing £10 million from the UK Treasury to help tackle the Shetland Island Council’s historic housing debt
- The setting of an “isles strke price” to help the development of renewable energy generation in the Isles.
During his time at Parliament Alistair has shadowed a number of portfolios in opposition, speaking for his party on issues relating to the work of the Home Office, transport and Scotland. After the 2010 election, Alistair was appointed as Chief Whip to the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Chief Whip to the Coalition Government. He held this role until October 2013 when he was appointed as Secretary of State for Scotland.
In 2012, Alistair was also elected as deputy leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
In January 2015 Alistair was appointed to the Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet as the party's spokesperson for Scotland. Between 2015 and 2016 he was the party's spokesperson on Home Affairs. In October 2016 Alistair was appointed by Tim Farron as the Shadow First Secretary of State. He was appointed Chief Whip to the Liberal Democrats after the 2017 general election, and was reelected as an MP in the 2019 general election.
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