Kenneth Gibson (Scottish politician)

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Kenneth Gibson
Official portrait, 2021
Convener of the Finance and Public Administration Committee
Assumed office
22 June 2021
DeputyDaniel Johnson
Preceded byBruce Crawford
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Cunninghame North
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded byAllan Wilson
Majority6117 (20.7%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
In office
6 May 1999 – 31 March 2003
Personal details
Born (1961-09-08) 8 September 1961 (age 62)
Paisley, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
SpousePatricia Gibson MP
Alma materUniversity of Stirling

Kenneth James Gibson (born 8 September 1961) is a Scottish politician serving as the Convenor of the Finance and Public Administration Committee since 2021. A member Scottish National Party (SNP), he has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Cunninghame North since 2007, having previously represented the Glasgow electoral region from 1999 to 2003.[1]


Born in Paisley, Gibson served as an SNP councillor in Glasgow for Mosspark from 1992 to 1999, becoming the first ever party representative in the city to serve successive terms. Following the defection of three Labour councillors and a by-election win, Gibson (also known as 'Kenny')[2][3] became Leader of the Opposition on Glasgow City Council from January 1998 until being replaced on the council by his mother Iris in the election of 1999.

Gibson was first elected to the Scottish Parliament at the 1999 Scottish Parliament election as a list member for Glasgow electoral region.[4] Despite these efforts, he failed to win re-election in 2003.

In 2004, Gibson was third on the SNP's list for election to the European Parliament. In 2007, he was chosen to contest the constituency of Cunninghame North, winning that seat from Labour by the smallest margin in Scotland of 48 votes. In the subsequent 2011 SNP landslide election, Gibson secured a comfortable majority of 6,117 over Allan Wilson, the same Labour candidate, and former Scottish Minister, he had defeated by so slight a margin in 2007.[5]

In addition to his constituency activities, Gibson was also the Convener of the Finance Committee in the Scottish Parliament from 2011 to 2016 and brought attention to enhanced financial powers in the Scotland Act 2012.[6] Gibson is currently a member of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee[7] and the Local Government and Communities Committee.[8]

Gibson is also actively involved in a number of Cross-Party Groups, serving as Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy; the Cross-Party Group on Improving Scotland's Health: 2021 and Beyond; and the Cross-Party Group on Life Sciences.[9]


In March 1993, when Gibson was a Councillor for Mosspark, a warrant for his arrest was issued following his failure to appear for trial in connection with an alleged offence under the Representation of the People Act.[10]

In February 2000, The Sunday Mail reported allegations from a disabled SNP member, Gill Strachan, that Gibson had pushed and abused her during the SNP Conference in Inverness in October 1999. Strachan subsequently resigned from the SNP, accusing the party of mounting a cover-up of the incident.[11]

In 2009, Gibson was criticised by other MSPs for writing to North Ayrshire Council in support of a planning application for 24 houses made by a friend, Billy Maclaren, while failing to disclose either the friendship or his financial relationships with Maclaren.[12]

Gibson was identified as one of 12 Holyrood politicians employing a close family member in 2013, but declined to provide information on the salary, work hours, or whether the job had been advertised.[13] His wife Patricia Gibson (now an MP) was employed as a policy adviser. Employing family members was declared bad practice in 2010 and outlawed in 2015.[14]

In March 2017, Holyrood's Standards Committee admonished Gibson for failure to make an oral declaration of a registered financial interest.[15] The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland submitted a report to the Procurator Fiscal. However, the alleged offence was "time barred from criminal proceedings."[16] Political opponents called for his suspension from the SNP.[17]

The Cunninghame North Constituency Association issued "an urgent call" for members to come forward to challenge Gibson to be the SNP representative for the area in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election campaign.[18] In October 2020, it was reported that Gibson would face a reselection challenge for the Cunninghame North Seat.[19] On 14 October it was reported that two SNP party officials had resigned in protest, with allegations that Gibson had been 'aggressive and abrasive' bullying, 'especially of women'.[20] The article quoted Cunninghame North Constituency Organiser Dr Malcolm Kerr as saying "the allegations against Mr Gibson include bullying, harassment and abuses of parliamentary expenses rules." Shortly after this, the SNP suspended the selection procedure in Cunninghame North in response to these allegations.[21]

In December 2022, Gibson was said to be "bordering on hate speech" by Scottish Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba. This was during the Stage 3 debate on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, where Gibson, on the topic of housing "anatomical males" in women's prisons, stated "If a fox said it was a chicken, would you put it in a henhouse? Of course not."[22]


  1. ^ "Session 6 Finance and Public Administration Committee". Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  2. ^ "First Minister slams opponents over rise in sectarian tensions". The National. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon blames opposition for rise in sectarian trouble". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 1 (1999–2003): Ken Gibson". Scottish Parliament. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  5. ^ "BBC News - Election 2011 - Scotland - Cunninghame North". BBC News.
  6. ^ Gibson, Kenneth, "Implementing the Financial Powers in the Scotland Act 2012", Scottish Parliamentary Review, Vol. I, No. 2 (Jan, 2014) [Edinburgh: Blacket Avenue Press]
  7. ^ "Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee". 19 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Local Government and Communities Committee". 3 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Cross-Party Groups". 25 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Warrant issued for arrest of Glasgow SNP councillor". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  11. ^ McGarvie, Lindsay (6 February 2000). "Top Nat in Assault Claim Row". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  12. ^ "MSP criticised after backing friend's planning application". The Herald. 6 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  13. ^ O'Sullivan, Kevin (19 May 2013). "MSPs £230K Family Affair". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  14. ^ "MSPs to be banned from employing family". BBC News. 15 December 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  15. ^ Silvester, Norman (5 June 2016). "Top SNP MP in Secret Landlord Probe". The Daily Record. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  16. ^ Gordon, Tom (25 March 2017). "SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson under fire for failing to speak out over landlord status". The Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  17. ^ Fisher, Paul (9 June 2016). "Local MSP Kenny Gibson hits out at calls for his suspension". Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  18. ^ Paterson, Kirsteen (13 September 2020). "Kenneth Gibson challenge as locals demand all SNP MSPs face 2021 selection battle". The National. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  19. ^ Boag, Hugh (2 October 2020). "Gibson faces reselection challenge for Cunninghame North seat". The Arran Banner. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  20. ^ Marini, Giani (14 October 2020). "Kenneth Gibson at centre of furore as two resign and rival suspends campaign". Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  21. ^ Paterson, Kirsteen (25 October 2020). "SNP selection race suspended as probe launched into sitting MSP's conduct". The Sunday National. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  22. ^ Sim, Philip (21 December 2022). "MSPs continue late-night debate on gender bill". BBC News Scotland. 23:07 21 Dec. Retrieved 22 December 2020.

External links[edit]

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by Member of the Scottish Parliament for Cunninghame North