Joan McAlpine

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Joan McAlpine

Parliamentary Liaison Officer
to the First Minister of Scotland
In office
May 2011 – September 2015
Serving with Humza Yousaf
Preceded byAlasdair Allan
Succeeded byJim Eadie, Kevin Stewart
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for South Scotland
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Personal details
Born (1962-01-28) 28 January 1962 (age 57)[1]
Gourock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Spouse(s)Pat Kane (divorced)
Children2 daughters (Grace, Eleanor)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
City University London

Joan McAlpine MSP (born 28 January 1962) is a Scottish journalist and Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for the South Scotland region. She has a newspaper column in The Daily Record and is author of the blog Go Lassie Go, which won a Scottish media blog award.


McAlpine was born in Gourock, Renfrewshire, and attended St Ninian's Primary School in Gourock and St Columba's High School in Greenock. She has an MA (Hons) in Scottish History and Economic History from University of Glasgow.[2] She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in newspaper journalism from City University in London. McAlpine was formerly married to the writer and musician Pat Kane, with whom she has two daughters.[3]

McAlpine began her career at the Greenock Telegraph in 1987. She went on to work for The Scotsman and The Sunday Times, where she won the Scottish Journalist of the Year award in 1999. In 2000 she was appointed editor of The Sunday Times Scotland and the following year became deputy editor of The Herald; the first woman to hold the Herald post,[4] although not the first Scottish female newspaper editor. She also wrote a weekly column for The Scotsman.[5] Her blog, Go Lassie Go, was voted Scotland's top media blog in 2010.[6][7]

In 1994 McAlpine co-authored a book on the history of the anti-poll tax campaign, A Time to Rage, with the political activist Tommy Sheridan.[8] In 1999 a programme Border Television written and presented by McAlpine, Crossing the Border, received a commendation but no award at the New York Television Festival.[4]

Member of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

McAlpine was elected as a list MSP for the South of Scotland region in the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election. She has been a media adviser for the SNP.[9] McAlpine wrote speeches for the then First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond,[10][11] and served as his Parliamentary Liaison Officer.

In November 2011 a member of McAlpine's staff, Gail Lythgoe, was found to have emailed a women's equality group, alleging that the Labour politician Ian Davidson has a history of bullying women and called on them to demonstrate against him whilst asking them not to reveal SNP involvement in the demonstration's instigation.[12][13] The email was later leaked and Lythgoe publicly apologised for making unsubstantiated allegations, with the Labour Party stating that this was a result of an SNP "dirty tricks campaign" against Davidson and calling for an investigation.[12]

In January 2012, McAlpine stated that individuals who criticized the policies of the SNP were 'anti-Scottish', provoking widespread condemnation from other political parties.[14] In March 2012, McAlpine compared Scotlands' position in the UK with a woman in an abusive marriage with a domineering man and stated that rival political parties were behaving in a sexist and misogynistic manner.[14]

In May 2012, McAlpine was reprimanded by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament for failure to appear for Ministerial Questions to be asked a question which she had tabled in the Scottish Parliament, she was eating dinner in a restaurant.[15][16][17] McAlpine is a member of the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture.

In February 2014, it was reported that McAlpine had claimed £1,750 in expenses relating to photography.[18] The photographer only completed six of the ten assignments paid for and refused to complete the work when their relationship broke down.[18] McAlpine then repaid the expense claim.[18] After the incident was made public, McAlpine referred her case to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, but it was found that there was no case to answer.[18]


  1. ^ "Democracy Live | Your representatives | Joan McAlpine". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  2. ^ Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Joan McAlpine". Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  5. ^ "McAlpine to return to Sunday Times Scotland". allmediascotland. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Top journalist's / mainstream media blogs". Scottish Roundup. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  7. ^ "McAlpine scoops Scottish Media Blog Award". allmediascotland. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  8. ^ "A Time to Rage (0748661743) by Tommy Sheridan, Joan Macalpine @". Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Big Things Expected for McAlpine". allmediascotland. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  10. ^ "George Kerevan: The seal of cabinet approval is still to be validated". The Scotsman. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  11. ^ "The advisers: Team who plotted stunning victory". The Scotsman. 7 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011.
  12. ^ a b Robbie Dinwoodie (1 November 2011). "First Minister's aide linked to dirty tricks allegations". The Herald Scotland.
  13. ^ "Ian Davidson row email 'went too far'". BBC News. 1 November 2011.
  14. ^ a b Brian Currie (7 March 2012). "McAlpine criticised for saying UK is like an abusive marriage". Herald Scotland.
  15. ^ "MSPs warned by presiding officer over bad behaviour". BBC News.
  16. ^ Tom Peterkin (17 May 2012). "Joan McAlpine forced to eat humble pie for show of discourtesy". The Herald Scotsman.
  17. ^ Paul Gilbride (18 May 2012). "McAlpine snubs Parliament to have lunch with Salmond".
  18. ^ a b c d "Joan McAlpine cleared of breaching expenses rules". Herald Scotland. 26 March 2014.

External links[edit]