McLeod was born and attended high school in East Kilbride. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh before completing her Doctorate at the University of Central Lancashire.
McLeod joined the SNP in 2004 on leaving her restricted post in the Scottish Parliament. After spending 5 years living in Brussels and working as Head of Policy for Alyn Smith MEP, McLeod returned home in 2009 to fight the European Parliamentary elections for the SNP. From 2009 to 2011 McLeod was Parliamentary Assistant to Michael Russell MSP. McLeod was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 via the South Scotland regional list.
She lives in Lanark with her partner.
- "Personal Information". www.scottish.parliament.uk. Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Davidson, Lorraine (10 May 2011). "Biggest wave of new faces into Holyrood since devolution". The Times (London).
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