Alex Neil (politician)
|Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing|
05 September 2012
|First Minister||Alex Salmond|
|Preceded by||Nicola Sturgeon|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Airdrie and Shotts
6 May 2011
|Preceded by||Karen Whitefield|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Central Scotland
6 May 1999 – 6 May 2011
|Preceded by||new parliament|
22 August 1951 |
Patna, East Ayrshire, Scotland
|Political party||Scottish National Party|
|Alma mater||University of Dundee|
Alex Neil (born 22 August 1951) is a Scottish politician, currently serving as the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being and the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Airdrie and Shotts.
Born in Patna, Ayrshire into a mining family, he became involved in Labour politics, joining the Labour Party in the mid-1960s. He served as chairman of both the Scottish Organisation of Labour Students and later the UK wide National Organisation of Labour Students. After graduating from the University of Dundee with a degree in economics he became the Senior Researcher for the Labour Party in Scotland.
Scottish Labour Party (1976) and SNP
In 1976, he, along with Jim Sillars MP and John Robertson MP left the Labour Party's Scottish branch to form the breakaway group, Scottish Labour Party (SLP). By 1979 the SLP had collapsed and Neil fell out of active politics until 1985 when he joined the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Neil would go on to become the SNP's Publicity Director, and then in charge of the party's policy, as well as a candidate in the 1989 Glasgow Central by-election and candidate in the Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency in both the 1992 and 1997 General Elections.
Member of the Scottish Parliament
The following year he stood unsuccessfully for the leadership of the SNP against John Swinney in a hard fought contest. Thereafter he was appointed chair of the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee, a role he kept on until 2003.
In 2003 he was re-elected as SNP MSP for Central Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.
In July 2004, Neil announced that he would not be a candidate in the impending contest for the leadership of the SNP, despite the fact that he believed he had considerable support within the party. He said that the reason for his decision was that senior figures in the party (such as MSP Fergus Ewing and former SNP leader Alex Salmond) had made it clear publicly that they would not work with him as leader.
In 2004 Neil was appointed chair of the Enterprise and Culture Committee. He was also a co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on the Scottish Economy.
He was again re-elected as a regional MSP for Central Scotland in 2007. He sat on the European and External Relations Committee and the Finance Committee from 2007–2009, upon his promotion to Scottish Minister.
In June 2010, Neil became implicated in an expenses scandal when it was alleged he had made £100,000 profit from the sale of his taxpayer funded second home. When quizzed by the Daily Record Neil was quoted as having said "Do you want us to stay in a caravan?" 
- Cabinet and ministers at-a-glance, BBC Scotland Politics
- Ferguson, John (2010-06-28). "Holyrood expenses row: SNP minister Alex Neil makes £100,000 profit on taxpayer-funded second home". Daily Record (Sunday Mail Ltd). Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "Vote 2011: Airdrie & Shotts". BBC. 2011-05-06. Archived from the original on 6 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-10.