John Nicolson (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from John Nicolson (journalist))
Jump to: navigation, search
John Nicolson
John Nicolson MP.jpg
Member of Parliament
for East Dunbartonshire
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded by Jo Swinson
Majority 2,167 (3.9%)
Personal details
Born John MacKenzie Nicolson
(1961-06-23) 23 June 1961 (age 55)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Alma mater University of Glasgow

John MacKenzie Nicolson[1] (born 23 June 1961[2]) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician and former Scottish television presenter. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Dunbartonshire, elected in the 2015 general election on 7 May 2015. He is the SNP spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons and a member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Glasgow, Nicolson was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School and at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1984 with an MA (Hons.) in English literature and Politics. He was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship for postgraduate study in the United States, and was Harkness Fellow in American Government at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.

As a student he won both the Observer Mace (now the John Smith Memorial Mace), and the World Universities Debating Championship at Princeton, New Jersey in the same year. He returned to the Glasgow University Union in 2012 to debate against other former World Universities' Championship winners.[5]

During his year at Harvard, he was invited by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democrat, New York) to work as a speechwriter on Capitol Hill.[6]

Broadcasting career[edit]


As a student, Nicolson appeared on BBC Scotland's Mr Speaker Sir. In 1987 he joined the BBC.[7] His network broadcasting career began with the BBC youth DEF II programme Open to Question in 1988. In 1992 he made the documentary 'A Question of Consent' for BBC 'Public Eye'.[8]

After moving to London he reported for a variety of BBC programmes including On the Record, Panorama,[7] Assignment, The Late Show, and several live general election, European election, and budget programmes.[citation needed]

He was a reporter on Newsnight[7] for three years, presented Watchdog Healthcheck on BBC1 and was one of the main studio presenters on the BBC's Breakfast News during the period that the show overtook its commercial rival GMTV for the first time. He was the studio presenter for the BBC on 11 September 2001 as the Twin Towers collapsed, anchoring live on BBC News 24 and BBC One – a broadcast which won the BBC production team a Foreign Press Association award for best breaking news coverage.[9]


After more than ten years at the BBC, Nicolson moved to ITV News Channel where he presented Live with John Nicolson, a three-hour morning news magazine until 2005.

Other media work[edit]

Nicolson occasionally guest reported for a travel show called Holiday, presented his own radio show with Jane Moore on LBC 97.3 until 2003 and appeared as a panellist on Radio 4's long running comedy show The News Quiz. He appeared as himself in The Trial of Tony Blair in 2007. He has also contributed to the Cumulus Media Networks radio programme The John Batchelor Show.

He has written about architecture and design, as well as politics and travel.

Political career[edit]

Nicolson joined the Scottish National Party aged 16.[6] He became an MP after winning election in the East Dunbartonshire constituency in the 2015 general election.[6] He was a member of the National Collective, the cultural movement for Scottish independence during Scotland’s Referendum.[10]

Following the referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, Nicolson has been campaigning for Scotland to remain in the single market.[11]

Nicolson has visited Israel and the Palestine territories a number of times, recently with Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding. He has spoken about the need for justice and peace in the region.[12][13]

In 2016, Nicolson put forward a proposal for an "Alan Turing law" which would retroactively pardon gay men who had been convicted of offences under historical laws which outlawed certain homosexual acts. He placed his proposal before Parliament as a Private Member's Bill.[14][15] Although no MPs were opposed to the bill, it was filibustered when the Conservative government Justice minister Sam Gyimah spoke for around 25 minutes, continuing until the deadline for a vote on the proposals.[16] The government instead proposed their own version of this law as an amendment to the Policing and Crime Act 2017,[17] which will only grant pardons to deceased convicts. This leaves out a key element of Nicolson's original bill, as people who are living with such historic convictions will not be automatically pardoned.[18][19]

Nicolson was appointed Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport shortly after his election in 2015. Since July 2015, he has sat on the Culture, Media and Sport committee in Westminster.[20] He has used this platform to talk about homophobia in sport, particularly in football.[21]

Nicolson campaigned for a news hour from a Scottish perspective. The BBC decided against a Scottish news broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 6 o'clock. Instead they announced a separate Scottish channel, with a 9 o'clock news programme. [22] Nicolson has consistently opposed the privatisation of Channel 4, and continues to ensure the government's decision making process is transparent regarding public broadcasters.[23][24]

As a member of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, Nicolson has engaged in several well known campaigns.[25] These include: the parliamentary inquiry into "fake news",[26] the abuse of ticket sales by touts,[27] dealing with complaints against the press,[28] combating doping in sport,[29] and the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1999, when he was a presenter on BBC Breakfast, Nicolson came out in various publications as gay. He has said that the decision was prompted after he was wrongly credited with having a long-term girlfriend in a newspaper interview, and was fed up with viewers believing him to be straight.[31]

He has discussed in more detail his decision to come out, "I've lost track of the number of people who've told me subsequently that when I came out in the papers they told their parents. Gay kids should have role models. They should know that being gay doesn't stop you doing anything as an adult."[32]


  1. ^ "List of Members returned to Parliament at the General Election 2015 Scotland". The Edinburgh Gazette. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Birth certificate of John MacKenzie Nicolson, 23 June 1961, Glasgow District 4373/02 3849 – National Records of Scotland
  3. ^ "SNP confirms group roles". SNP. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Culture, Media and Sport Committee – membership". House of Commons. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Glasgow University Union debates independence". STV News. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Election 2015: Who are the 56 new SNP MPs?". BBC News. BBC. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Cantacuzino, Maria (26 September 1999). "How we met: Krishnan Guru-Murthy & John Nicolson". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Public Eye | A Question of Consent". BBC. 29 May 1992. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Nicolson, John (9 September 2011). "9/11 anniversary: 'Suddenly there was mayhem. One of the towers was on fire'". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "John Nicolson". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "[2nd day]: 1 Feb 2017: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "Occupied Palestinian Territories: Israeli Settlements: 9 Feb 2017: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  13. ^ "MP reflects on visit to the West Bank". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Littauer, Dan (24 September 2016). "Scots MP introduces Turing Law to quash anti-gay convictions". Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Devlin, Kate (29 June 2016). "SNP MP launches bid to pardon those charged under homophobic laws no longer on statute book". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  16. ^ Worley, Will (21 October 2016). "Turing Bill filibustered by Tory minister amid row over how to pardon people convicted under scrapped anti-gay laws". The Independent. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  17. ^ "Policing and Crime Act 2017". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  18. ^ "Turing Law receives Royal Assent". 31 January 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "Engagements: 1 Feb 2017: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "John Nicolson MP, East Dunbartonshire - TheyWorkForYou". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "New TV channel for BBC in Scotland". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Channel 4: 21 Jan 2016: House of Commons debates - TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Scottish MP In Fight To Save Channel 4 From Privatisation". Westsound. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  25. ^ "Culture, Media and Sport Committee". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  26. ^ "'Fake news' inquiry". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  27. ^ "Ticket abuse inquiry". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  28. ^ "Dealing with complaints against the press inquiry". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  29. ^ "Combatting Doping in Sport inquiry". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  30. ^ "The impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market inquiry". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  31. ^ "I came out so kids would have a better gay role model than Dale Winton; BBC'S BREAKFAST NEWS HUNK TELLS WHY HE'S GONE PUBLIC. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  32. ^ "Diversity in Public life - by John Nicolson MP - GSM London Blog". 23 February 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jo Swinson
Member of Parliament
for East Dunbartonshire