Iain Macwhirter

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Iain MacWhirter
Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh
In office
13 February 2009 – 10 January 2012
Preceded by Mark Ballard
Succeeded by Peter McColl
Majority 2,640
Personal details
Residence Edinburgh
Education George Heriot's School
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Occupation Journalist

Iain Macwhirter is the political commentator of the The Herald and the Sunday Herald, an author and documentary film and radio presenter and a former Rector of Edinburgh University. He has worked at both the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament, presenting the BBC2 programmes Westminster Live, Scrutiny and, from 1999, the BBC TV Holyrood Live programme from the Scottish Parliament.

In 2013, he published Road to Referendum which accompanied a major new three-part television series of the same name on STV and ITV.[1] Following the Scottish independence referendum, he published Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won A Referendum But Lost Scotland,[2] a retrospective on his experiences as a journalist documenting the campaign. In 2015, his book Tsunami, about the SNP's victory in the 2015 general election, was published by Freight Books.[3]


Macwhirter was educated at George Heriot's School, an independent school for boys in Edinburgh, followed by the University of Edinburgh.

Life and career[edit]

Macwhirter worked for the BBC for almost 20 years, becoming Scottish political correspondent in 1987, then from 1989 as a member of the Westminster press contingent, as part of Westminster Live. In 1999, he presented Politics Scotland and Holyrood Live until both were axed in 2007

Current journalism[edit]

Macwhirter writes weekly columns for The Herald and Sunday Herald, which are, along with The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, the leading Scottish morning papers. He returned to Scotland to help launch the Sunday Herald in 1999, and has presented the Scottish Parliament magazine programme Holyrood Live. He also writes for Public Finance and other publications.

Rector of The University of Edinburgh[edit]

Macwhirter announced that he was running for Rector of the University of Edinburgh on 12 January 2009.[4] He was backed by George Galloway following the latter's withdrawal as a candidate for the post.[5] He was elected Rector on 13 February 2009, winning by 4,822 votes to 2,182 (69% to 31%).[6] succeeding the former Green MSP Mark Ballard.

See also[edit]



Academic offices
Preceded by
Mark Ballard
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Peter McColl