Alasdair Allan

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Alasdair Allan
Alasdair Allan MSP.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
Minister for International Development and Europe
In office
18 May 2016 – 26 June 2018
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byHumza Yousaf
Succeeded byBen Macpherson
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages[1]
In office
20 May 2011 – 18 May 2016
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded byAngela Constance
Succeeded byShirley-Anne Somerville
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded byAlasdair Morrison
Majority3,441 (23.7%)
Personal details
Born (1971-05-06) 6 May 1971 (age 51)
Ashkirk, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materUniversity of Aberdeen
University of Glasgow

Alasdair James Allan (born 6 May 1971) is a Scottish politician serving as the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency since 2007. A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he served as a Scottish Government from 2011 to 2018, first as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages and then Minister for International Development and Europe.

Early life[edit]

Alasdair James Allan was born on 6 May 1971 in Ashkirk to Christine and John H. Allan.[2] Allan graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA in Scottish Language and Literature, continuing his studies at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with a PhD in Scots language in 1998.[3]

He devoted his time and employment to the Scottish National Party in Peterhead, working for Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, and he subsequently became assistant to Michael Russell.[4] Previous to becoming an MSP, Alasdair was senior media relations officer for the Church of Scotland.[5]

He is quadrilingual, and is able to speak: Scottish Gaelic, Norwegian, Scots and English.

Political career[edit]

Allan was the SNP candidate for Gordon at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. As National Secretary of the SNP, he was responsible in July 2004 for the expulsion of Campbell Martin from the party after Martin had claimed that there was a case for supporters of independence not voting SNP.[6]

Allan was next in line to become a list MSP for North East Scotland when Richard Lochhead resigned to fight the Moray by-election, however he decided instead to devote himself to contesting Na h-Eileanan an Iar, a key Labour–SNP marginal seat in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. He relocated to Lewis and resigned his post as SNP National Secretary.[7] This move proved successful, as he was elected with 46.6% of the vote – a 5.4% swing from Labour.

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election Allan again stood for the SNP in the now renamed seat of Na h-Eileanan an Iar and increased his majority, returning to Holyrood with 65.3% of the vote, an increase of 18.7% and a swing of 15.8% from Labour.[8]

As of July 2020, Allan is a member of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, the Education and Skills Committee and the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.[9]

He is a speaker and strong supporter of Scottish Gaelic and Scots and holds a PhD on the latter. He authored the booklet Talking Independence, which sought to answer questions about Scottish independence, ranging from "What will I pay in tax?" to "Will I still be able to visit relatives in England?" and "Will we still get EastEnders?".

Allan voted against same-sex marriage in Scotland, saying "the view which so many of my constituents have expressed to me has a right to be recorded" – in contrast to the position of the majority of the SNP government.[10]

Allan wrote a book, Tweed Rins tae the Ocean (Tweed Runs to the Ocean), in response to claims made by former Conservative MP Rory Stewart that the Anglo-Scottish border was unnatural.[11] Allan walked the Border and recorded his travels, similar to what Stewart did for his book The Marches.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Learning and Skills (May–December 2011)
  2. ^ "Alasdair Allan on making Scotland's voice heard". Holyrood. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Allan, Dr Alasdair James, (born 6 May 1971), Member (SNP) Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish Parliament, since 2011 (Western Isles, 2007–11); Minister for International Development and Europe, since 2016", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2008, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u246432, ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4, retrieved 31 August 2019
  4. ^ "Salmond on brink of victory in SNP leadership battle". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  5. ^ "Personal Information". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Nationalists throw out rebel MSP". BBC News. 10 July 2004. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Grant Thoms — SNP – Scottish National Party". Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  8. ^ "BBC News – Election 2011 – Scotland – Na h-Eileanan an Iar". BBC News. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Alasdair Allan". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Scottish education minster: I support civil partnerships but not same-sex marriage". PinkNews – Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  11. ^ Meighan, Craig (16 May 2021). "SNP MSP explores Border in book set to challenge claims by Tory politician". The National. Herald and Times Group. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  12. ^ Allan, Alasdair; Stewart, Rory (27 March 2021). "How two politicians walked the England-Scotland border - and came away with very different ideas". Associated Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 23 May 2021.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by National Secretary of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Western Isles