Roseanna Cunningham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Roseanna Cunningham
Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Environment (1).jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training
Assumed office
21 November 2014
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Angela Constance (as Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment)
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs
In office
25 May 2011 – 21 November 2014
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Fergus Ewing
Succeeded by Paul Wheelhouse
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire
Perth 1999-2011
Assumed office
6 May 1999
Preceded by Constituency Created
Member of Parliament
for Perth
Perth and Kinross (1995–1997)
In office
25 May 1995 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Nicholas Fairbairn
Succeeded by Annabelle Ewing
Personal details
Born (1951-07-27) 27 July 1951 (age 63)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Alma mater University of Western Australia
University of Edinburgh
University of Aberdeen
Profession Solicitor, Advocate
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Official website

Roseanna Cunningham (born 27 July 1951, Glasgow) is a Scottish politician who has been the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training since 2014 and is the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, having previously represented Perth.

Early life[edit]

Raised in Australia, she returned to Scotland and was a member of the left-wing 79 Group inside the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the early 1980s, but avoided expulsion as she was not a member of its steering committee (future SNP Convenor Alex Salmond by contrast who served on the 79 Group committee was expelled, whilst Margo MacDonald resigned from the party in protest before she could be expelled).

Cunningham worked as a solicitor and became an advocate in 1990.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Cunningham first came to prominence in 1995 when she won the bitter Perth and Kinross by-election to replace the Conservative MP, Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who had died. She had initially been left off the SNP's candidate shortlist over her brief relationship in the 1970s with Donald Bain, the former husband of SNP stalwart Margaret Ewing, on the grounds that the issue could prove an embarrassment to the party. However, she was put back in contention following an intervention by the then party leader Alex Salmond, and after Ewing made clear she had no objection to Cunningham's candidature.

In 1999 she became the MSP for Perth and continues to represent the area in the Scottish Parliament to this day. In 2000 she was elected the SNP Senior Vice-Convener (depute leader). Also in that year she helped establish the Scottish Left Review publication. She stood down as an MP in 2001, to concentrate on the Scottish Parliament.

John Swinney announced his resignation as leader of the SNP on 22 June 2004, and on the same day Roseanna Cunningham announced that she would be a candidate in the subsequent election for the party leadership. In the early stages of the campaign she appeared to be the clear front-runner, but the entirely unexpected decision of the popular former leader Alex Salmond to enter the race just before nominations closed changed everything, and Cunningham ultimately finished a distant second.

She is sometimes known as "Republican Rose" for her well-known support for the replacement of the monarchy with an elected head of state.

In December 2006 she led an unsuccessful attempt to prevent same-sex couples gaining the right to adopt children,[1] despite having previously been named ScotsGay Parliamentarian of the Year in 1998.[2] When legislation to introduce same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014, she had voted against the bill.[3]

In August 2007 she voiced her disdain nationally about a video showing pupils from Glenalmond College, a co-educational independent boarding school in Scotland, acting out in a satirical video called "Class Wars"[4] in which students dressed in the stereotypical attire of the Ned subculture are hunted by pupils dressed as Aristocrats. She is quoted as saying "I suppose this video could be billed as the revenge of Monty Python's upper-class twits, Doubtless it is intended as humour and irony but it comes across as brash, crass and arrogant.".[5]

In the first reshuffle of the SNP Government in February 2009, Cunningham was appointed as Minister for the Environment.[6] In December 2010, she also took on portfolio responsibility for climate change, becoming Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. After the 2011 election, which saw a SNP landslide, she was appointed Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs with special responsibility for tackling sectarianism.

In Nicola Sturgeon's first reshuffle in November 2014, she was promoted to Cabinet as Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training.


  1. ^ "MSPs vote for same-sex adoption". BBC News. 7 December 2006. 
  2. ^ ScotsGay Magazine - Issue 25
  3. ^ "Scotland's same-sex marriage bill: How MSPs voted". 4 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Lister, David (13 August 2007). "No chavs were harmed in this video - Times Online". London: The Times. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Outrage at 'Chav hunting' videos". Metro. 
  6. ^ Cunningham relishing new challenge, Scottish Government, 12 February 2009

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Nicholas Fairbairn
Member of Parliament for Perth and Kinross
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Perth
Succeeded by
Annabelle Ewing
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Russell
Minister for Environment / Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Paul Wheelhouse
Preceded by
Fergus Ewing (as Minister for Community Safety)
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs
Succeeded by
Paul Wheelhouse
Preceded by
Angela Constance (as Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment)
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Swinney
Senior Vice Convener (Depute Leader) of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
Nicola Sturgeon