Pete Wishart

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Pete Wishart
Official portrait of Pete Wishart crop 2.jpg
Wishart in 2017
SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Assumed office
20 May 2015
Preceded by Position established
Chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee
Assumed office
19 June 2015
Preceded by Ian Davidson
Member of Parliament
for Perth and North Perthshire
Tayside North (2001–2005)
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by John Swinney
Majority 21 (0.04%)
Personal details
Born (1962-03-09) 9 March 1962 (age 56)
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Children 1
Alma mater Moray House College of Education
Profession Musician; community worker
Musical career
Origin Scotland
Instruments Keyboards
Years active 1981–present
Associated acts Big Country

Peter "Pete" Wishart (born 9 March 1962) is a Scottish National Party politician and musician who has served as the Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire since 2005. Wishart previously served as the MP for North Tayside from 2001 until the seat was abolished four years later. At the 2017 general election, he was re-elected, with a majority of just 21 votes over the Conservative Party candidate, Ian Duncan.

Wishart is currently the SNP Shadow Leader of the House in the House of Commons and the chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. He has previously served as the SNP's Westminster Spokesperson for the Constitution and for Culture and Sport and Chief Whip. He is also the former keyboard player of the Scottish Celtic rock band Runrig.

He is the longest-serving Scottish National Party MP, and is among the longest-serving Scottish MPs in the House of Commons.[1][2]


Born in Dunfermline in 1962, Wishart was educated at Queen Anne High School Dunfermline and Moray House College, Edinburgh.[3] Wishart lives in Perth and has one son and enjoys walking in the Perthshire hills. Wishart is a trained community worker and has been a director of the Fast Forward charity that promotes healthy lifestyles for young people. He was a member of the Scotland Against Drugs Campaign Committee and has contributed to many national forums looking at the problem of drugs within Scottish society.


Wishart was for 15 years a member of the Scottish group Runrig, and was the first MP to have appeared on the TV show Top of the Pops. Before Runrig, he had been in one of the lineups of Big Country. Wishart is a founder member of the parliamentary rock group MP4. The other members are Ian Cawsey (bass guitar and vocals), Greg Knight MP (drums) and Kevin Brennan MP (lead guitar and vocals).

House of Commons[edit]

He was first elected to the House of Commons at the 2001 general election, taking John Swinney's old seat of Tayside North. Since arriving at Westminster, he has served as the SNP's Chief Whip, in which role he has pressed the government for greater parliamentary rights, such as better representation on committees, for both the SNP and other minor political parties. He has also campaigned for copyright term extension and is a vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group.

In the light of the reduction in the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster, Wishart's former constituency was abolished in a radical boundary revision, and at the 2005 general election; he won the new constituency of Perth and North Perthshire for the SNP with a majority of 1,521 over Douglas Taylor of the Conservatives. The Perth and North Perthshire constituency was created after boundary changes in Scotland and takes in East and Highland Perthshire, the City of Perth and the Carse of Gowrie. Wishart sat on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.

In November 2010, Wishart suggested that Scottish football referees should declare which club sides they support.[4]

In January 2015, Wishart secured and started a debate on the reform of the House of Lords.[5]

Politically, he is well-known for campaigning to demolish Perth's listed City Hall, dating from 1911, and replace it with an open square. He has described the building as "unused, unloved and increasingly unwelcome", "a building whose time has passed", and said that, "A city square will allow us to attract visitors, grow our café quarter, put on outdoor events and properly organise civic and community events. Every city needs civic space and we must ensure that we will soon have ours."[6][7]

Following the 2015 general election, it was announced in June 2015 that he would chair the Scottish Affairs Select Committee,[8] with his appointment formally announced on 19 June 2015.[9] At the snap 2017 general election, he retained his seat by a very marginal majority, beating Conservative Ian Duncan by just 21 votes.[10][11]

In 2016, Wishart suggested to the House of Commons the possibility of the Palace of Westminster being turned into a tourist attraction and for Parliament to move to a more modern building.[12][13]

Wishart said publicly in September 2017 that because voters were “weary of constitutional change” there should be no second referendum on Scottish independence for that parliament, but that the SNP should seek a mandate for a new one in the 2021 Scottish parliament election.[14] In October 2017, Wishart told an Institute of Economic Affairs conference that federalism for the UK should be welcomed "as part of that conversation" in Scotland, although he stressed federalism would not see Scotland "equal to some region of England".[15]

In January 2018, Wishart drew media attention for holding up a placard which read "nul points" in the House of Commons, after having asked Prime Minister Theresa May how she would rate her government's handling of Brexit from one to ten. After May had answered, Wishart received a warning by Speaker of the House John Bercow for the stunt. [16][17][18][19][20]

In February 2018, he warned that the SNP risked alienating Scottish voters who had voted "Leave" in the 2016 referendum on European Union membership. In an article for The National, he wrote that his party had to "face up" to the reality that Scotland would be leaving the European Union, and made the case for an alternative vision of Scottish independence which involved a "graduated" re-entry to the European Union from "EEA, then EFTA then full EU membership", stressing that the final step of rejoining the EU should only be done with the "full consent of an independent Scottish Parliament".[21][22] Later in February, he ruled himself out of the 2018 Scottish Depute Leadership election following the resignation of Angus Robertson. Wishart concluded that he did not have "sufficient support" to run for the Depute Leadership of the Scottish National Party.[23][24]


  1. ^ Bussey, Katrine (2018-02-20). "Wishart steps aside in SNP depute leadership contest". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  2. ^ Bussey, Katrine (2018-02-20). "Wishart steps aside in SNP depute leadership contest". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  3. ^ "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". David Leask. The Herald. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "MP wants Scottish referees to declare club allegiance". BBC Sport. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Sheridan, Craig (16 January 2015). "Pete Wishart: The Gold-Plated Red Upholstered Narnia". Scottish Statesman. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Wishart, Pete. "Blog post". Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Burdge, Richars. "MP brands Perth City Hall move 'futile'". The Courier. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "SNP reveal Commons committee chairs". 10 June 2015 – via 
  9. ^ "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "SNP's Pete Wishart holds Perth seat - by just 21 votes!". 9 June 2017 – via 
  11. ^ "Pete Wishart retains seat by narrow margin after fighting off Tory onslaught - The Courier". 
  12. ^ "Westminster 'should be tourist attraction', MP says". STV News. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Medieval site of Parliament should become a MUSEUM and Commons should move to new home, MP says". The Sun. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  14. ^ "No second referendum in this parliament, says veteran SNP MP". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  15. ^ "Pete Wishart under fire for 'foul-mouthed' Twitter post". Retrieved 2018-02-05. 
  16. ^ Kidd, Patrick (2018). "The stench of decay hangs over a tired Brexit stunt". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  17. ^ "MP Wishart in hot water for giving May 'nul points' on Brexit". The National. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  18. ^ Deacon, Michael (2018). "It's easy to make fun of Theresa May. But somehow the SNP made a mess of it". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  19. ^ "Theresa May was asked to rate how well Brexit is going on a scale of 1-10". Metro. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  20. ^ "Theresa May says 'Government is doing well' on Brexit". Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  21. ^ "SNP must face the reality that Scotland is leaving the EU". iNews. 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  22. ^ "We need a new vision for independence – with a gradual rejoining of the EU". The National. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  23. ^ "Pete Wishart will not be standing to be next SNP depute leader". The National. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 
  24. ^ "Pete Wishart MP rules himself out of SNP deputy leadership race". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2018-02-22. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Swinney
Member of Parliament for North Tayside
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire