John Mason (Scottish politician)

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John Mason

Deputy Convener of the
Scottish Parliament
Finance Committee
Assumed office
15 June 2011
Preceded byTom McCabe
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Shettleston
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Preceded byFrank McAveety
Majority7,323 (28.9%)[1]
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow East
In office
24 July 2008 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byDavid Marshall
Succeeded byMargaret Curran
Majority365 (1.4%)
Glasgow City Councillor for:
Garrowhill (Ward 48) (1998–2007)
Baillieston (Ward 20) (2007–2008)
In office
1998 – 25 July 2008
Succeeded byDavid Turner
Personal details
Born (1957-05-15) 15 May 1957 (age 62)
Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materHutchesons' Grammar School University of Glasgow

John Fingland Mason (born 15 May 1957) is a Scottish politician, and the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Shettleston.

He was the SNP Member of Parliament for Glasgow East from 2008 to 2010, and a Glasgow City Councillor from 1998 to 2008.


Originally from Rutherglen, Mason has lived in the East End of Glasgow for 20 years. His father was an electrical engineer, and his mother a teacher. After attending Hutchesons' Grammar School,[2] he studied Accounting at the University of Glasgow, becoming an ICAS Chartered Accountant.

He worked for housing associations, nursing homes, and with a charity in London. He also spent three years in Kathmandu, Nepal, with an NGO (United Mission to Nepal) representing churches from across the world.


Mason has lived in the East End of Glasgow for the past 20 years, and was elected as the councillor for the Garrowhill ward in Glasgow City Council at a by-election in 1998, and was re-elected in 1999 and 2003.[3]

He rose to become the Leader of the Opposition in Glasgow City Council, and led the SNP Council Group on the majority Labour-run Council between 1999 and 2008. He was the SNP's longest serving Glasgow councillor, and during his term, he led many protests against Labour's moves to weaken effective opposition by altering the council committee system.[3]

In his ward, he attended a wide variety of community groups, including Garrowhill and Swinton Community Councils, local school boards, tenants association, and Garrowhill Action Partnership. He was also on the management committee of Tenant Controlled Housing, which aims to give local tenants control of their housing, in place of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).[4]


Member of Parliament[edit]

On 30 June 2008, David Marshall, Labour MP for Glasgow East, resigned from the UK Parliament on the grounds of ill-health,[5][6] thereby triggering a by-election.[7][8] The decision by Labour to call a quick by-election (set for 24 July 2008) was partly attributed to Labour's troubled finances and fears of an SNP campaign building up enough momentum.[9] John Mason was selected as SNP candidate for Glasgow East on 3 July.[10] During the by-election, the candidate stance on abortion was displayed on noticeboards in catholic churches; Mason was reported to be opposed to abortion occurring for social reasons.[11]

Mason won the by-election in a surprise victory, defeating the Labour candidate Margaret Curran, MSP for Glasgow Baillieston.[12][13] He overturned a Labour majority of more than 13,500 to win the seat on a swing of more than 22%. It was Labour's third-safest seat in Scotland.[14]

As promised during the by-election, Mason resigned his council seat immediately after his election as MP.[15] The subsequent by-election was won by the SNP. Mason served as the SNP's Westminster spokesperson on Work and Pensions during his tenure as an MP.[16] From 2009 until losing his seat in 2010, he also sat on the House of Commons' Select Committee on Administration.[16] In an interview with the Guardian newspaper in April 2010, when questioned about his Protestant religious beliefs, and how that could conflict with the rights of others in the UK, Mason acknowledged the difficulty that this issue raised with him, informing the newspaper that he had been warned to leave this issue alone by his party,[17]

Member of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, he defeated his main rival, Labour's Frank McAveety, to win the Glasgow Shettleston constituency with a majority of 586 votes. The turnout was 37.7%. During his time in Holyrood so far, Mason has called on the Scottish Government to make housing investment its top priority. During the debate on same-sex marriage in Scotland, Mason was widely condemned for raising a motion stating that no person or organisation should be forced to be involved or to approve of same-sex marriage.[18] In January 2015 he spoke in parliament in favour of young Earth creationism.[19] In February 2016, he publicly asked "How is national debt different from national deficit?" on Twitter, prompting 'The Spectator to say that he "appears to lack a basic understanding of finance".[20][21]

He was re-elected in 2016.[1]

In May 2018, Mason was criticised for comparing the child sexual abuse by former Celtic F.C. employees to tax avoidance schemes. Mason defended his comments.[22]

In September 2019, he tabled a motion called "Both Lives Matter", which called for abortion to be restricted.[23]

In March 2020, he came under criticism for refusing to follow Scottish Government advice and keeping his parliamentary office open to the public during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[24]

Personal interests[edit]

Mason is a supporter of the Scottish football club Clyde F.C..[25] His other interests include involvement in Easterhouse Baptist Church, hill-walking, camping, and reading Scottish history.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Scotland election 2016. Glasgow Shettleston constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  2. ^ "FPs Humza Yousaf and John Mason elected as MSPs". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b Percival, Jenny (4 July 2008). "SNP to put up local council leader". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Glasgow SNP - Scottish Independence - Council candidates 2007". Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  5. ^ McSmith, Andy (12 July 2008). "Struggle for survival in Labour heartland". The Independent. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. ^ Porter, Andrew (27 June 2008). "Labour MP David Marshall to quit causing Brown more by-election woe". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  7. ^ "By-election looms after MP quits". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Hennessy, Patrick; Kite, Melissa (28 June 2008). "Labour: Gordon Brown's crisis deepens as Wendy Alexander resigns". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  10. ^ "Employment at historic high in Scotland". Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Glasgow East by-election: Abortion and embryo controversies back in spotlight for final days of campaign". The Scotsman. 19 July 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  12. ^ Labour concedes defeat in Glasgow East by-election Archived 27 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Herald, 25 July 2008
  13. ^ "SNP stuns Labour in Glasgow East". BBC News. 25 July 2008.
  14. ^ Baston, Lewis (25 July 2008). "A broken rule of thumb in Glasgow". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Mason calls time on council career". Evening Times. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Jack, Ian (20 April 2010). "Religion still counts in Scotland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  18. ^ "SNP gay marriage row intensifies". 7 August 2011 – via
  19. ^ "Christian MSP: science can't disprove Earth created in six days". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  20. ^ @JohnMasonMSP (27 February 2016). "How is national debt different from national deficit?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "SNP politician struggles with the deficit". Coffee House. 29 February 2016.
  22. ^ Gordon, Tom (20 May 2018). "MSP criticised for comparing child abuse and tax abuse". The Herald.
  23. ^ Paterson, Stewart (27 September 2019). "SNP MSP calls for abortion to be "restricted" in Scotland". Evening Times. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Coronavirus in Scotland: Health Secretary blasts SNP colleague for ignoring distancing rules". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  25. ^ "MSP John Mason boycotts Clyde after Goodwillie signing". BBC News. BBC. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  26. ^ Mason, John (13 December 2005). "Councillor John Mason; Autobiography". Glasgow City Council. Archived from the original on 10 May 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2008.

External links[edit]

Coverage of the Glasgow East by-election, 2008
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Marshall
Member of Parliament for Glasgow East
Succeeded by
Margaret Curran