Stewart Stevenson

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Stewart Stevenson
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Banffshire & Buchan Coast
Banff and Buchan 2001–2011
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Alex Salmond
Majority 6,583 (23.0%)
Minister for Environment
and Climate Change
In office
25 May 2011 – 6 September 2012
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Roseanna Cunningham
Succeeded by Paul Wheelhouse
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure
and Climate Change
In office
17 May 2007 – 11 December 2010
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Tavish Scott
(as Minister for Transport)
Succeeded by Keith Brown
(as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure)
Convenor of the SNP
Scottish Parliamentary Group
In office
7 May 2003 – 17 May 2007
Succeeded by Gil Paterson
Personal details
Born (1946-10-15) 15 October 1946 (age 69)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Sandra Pirie
Relations Parents:
James Thomas Middleton
Helen Mary Berry
Residence Banffshire, Scotland
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
University of Strathclyde
Profession Software Engineer
Committees Justice Committee
08 Jun 2016 - In Office
(Scottish Parliament)

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee
08 Jun 2016 - In Office
(Scottish Parliament)

Standing Orders & Agenda Committee

James Alexander Stewart Stevenson (known as Stewart Stevenson) (Gaelic: Seamus Alasdair Stiùbhart MacSteafain) (born 1946) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) since 2001.[1] He was the MSP for Banff and Buchan from 2001 to 2011, and after boundary changes he has been the MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast since 2011.

He was a minister of the Scottish Government from 2007 to 2010, and from 2011 to 2012.

Early life[edit]

Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, and brought up in Cupar, Fife, where he attended Bell Baxter High School. After studying mathematics at the University of Aberdeen he worked in information technology with the Bank of Scotland for 30 years, retiring in 1999 as Director of Technology Innovation.

Political career[edit]

In Opposition[edit]

Stevenson joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1961. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament at the by-election on 7 June 2001 following Alex Salmond's resignation as member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Banff and Buchan.

He made his maiden speech on the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy, rising to his feet at 16:11 hrs on 14 June, 30 hours and 36 minutes after being sworn in.[2]

University Challenge[edit]

In 2004 he was a member of the Scottish Parliament team in the TV general knowledge programme, University Challenge – The Professionals. He and fellow team members Richard Baker (Labour), Robin Harper (Green), Jamie Stone (Lib Dem) who was captain, beat a Welsh Assembly team by 110 points to 75.[3][4] Both teams comfortably surpassed the record low score of 25 achieved by the House of Commons team in 2003[5]


In opposition he was Shadow Deputy Health Minister before becoming Shadow Deputy Justice Minister with responsibility for Prisons and Drugs policy, Convenor of the SNP Group in the Scottish Parliament and Deputy Convenor of the Parliament's Justice 1 Committee.[6] In addition he ended Session 2 as a substitute member of the Parliament's Health Committee[7] and Deputy Convenor of the Parliament's Cross Party Group on Visual Impairment.


By the end of Parliament's second session on 2 April 2007 he had made 284 speeches in the Scottish Parliament and was thus the most prolific speaker since the Parliament's being re-convened in 1999. By the end of Session 3 in March 2011, he had made 406 speeches and retained the position of "most prolific parliamentary speaker". He reached his 500th speech[8] on the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill, on 7 November 2013.[9]

He can, arguably, hold the record for the longest speech in Parliament. He commenced a speech on International Suicide Prevention Week at 17:21 on Wednesday, 7 September 2004[10] and completed it at 17:12 on Thursday, 8 September 2004[11] nearly 24 hours later. However this was due to the failure of the Parliament's sound system just after he started to speak.

On 12 June 2015, he became the first Member of the Scottish Parliament to have made 600 speeches.[12]

In Government[edit]

In the Scottish Parliament election of 3 May 2007, Stewart Stevenson was returned with a majority of 10,530, the largest in Scotland, over the Scottish Conservative Party candidate. After the SNP's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, Stevenson was appointed Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change.[13] This appointment covered: the land use planning system, climate change, building standards, transport policy and delivery, public transport, road, rail services, canals, harbours, air and ferry services, Scottish Water.

As Minister, Stevenson piloted the SNP Government's first Bill, Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill, to the statute book on 24 January 2008.[14] and when he signed The Port of Cairnryan Harbour Empowerment Order 2007 he became the first SNP Minister to sign a piece of legislation.[15] He also brought forward the SNP's first Legislative Consent Motion, previously known as Sewel Motions, on the subject of the UK Climate Change Bill.[16] He was also the first SNP Minister to lose a vote in Parliament on the subject of the Edinburgh Trams project.[17]

He continued a family association as the Minister for Transport through the planning and building of the replacement for the Forth Road Bridge which opened in 1964. His great uncle Sir Alexander Stevenson was Chairman of the Forth Road Bridge Campaign Committee in the 1930s.[18]

In March 2009 Stevenson apologised for the use of an "intemperate word" in Parliament when he said the word "bollocks" in an off-mic remark in response to sedentary remarks by Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles on the relationship between Scottish ministers and officials at Transport Scotland.[19]

During the December 2010 snowfall on 6 December, Stevenson, on Newsnight Scotland, called the response to people being trapped on the main Scottish Motorway Network for more than 10 hours, as first class, and refused to apologise, claiming the amount of snow was un-forecast. The next day he apologised to motorists.[20] On 11 December Stevenson resigned following criticism of his handling of the issue.[21]

2011 Scottish General Election[edit]

Under the re-drawn constituency boundaries, Stevenson was elected as the SNP member for the new seat of Banffshire and Buchan Coast, It contains approximately 85% of the electorate of Banff and Buchan and the remainder comes from the previous Moray seat's communities of Cullen, Findochty, Portknockie, Buckie, and from a part of the previous Gordon constituency comprising Rothiemay, Knock, Deskford, Grange. A substantial rural area with a small number of electors is also included.

His 16,812 votes represents the largest share of votes cast in a Scottish Parliament constituency with 67.24% but trails the actual votes of others such as Alex Salmond (19,533), John Swinney (18,219), Fiona Hyslop (17,027), Willie Coffey (16,964), Fergus Ewing (16,870) and Richard Lochhead (16,817).

In the 2011 Scottish Government he was appointed as Minister for Environment and Climate Change.[22] In the re-shuffle of September 2012, Stevenson was replaced as Minister by Paul Wheelhouse MSP.[23]

2016 Scottish General Election[edit]

Stevenson was re-elected as member for Banffshire and Buchan Coast at the 2016 election.[24]

Relatives of Note[edit]



  • David Berry (1795–1889) Businessman & Benefactor, New South Wales, Australia – 1st cousin, 4 times removed (brother of Alexander Berry)



  • Marian Lines (1933–2012) Actress & Writer – 4th Cousin (both descended from David Berry, 1791–1854, and Catherine Scott, 1793–1875)



  1. ^ "STEVENSON, (James Alexander) Stewart". Who's Who. Oxford University Press. December 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Official Report (Session 1); c 1669, Scottish Parliament, 14 June 2001
  3. ^ "2004 Series University Challenge – The Professionals". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  4. ^ Scots win in 'Paxo' challenge, BBC News, 28 June 2004
  5. ^ "2003 Series University Challenge – The Professionals". 2003-09-08. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  6. ^ "The Scottish Parliament: – Committees – Justice 1 – Session 2". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  7. ^ "The Scottish Parliament:-Committees-Health". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  8. ^ List of Speeches, Stewart Stevenson MSP Web Site
  9. ^ Official Report (Session 4); c 24231, Scottish Parliament, 7 November 2013
  10. ^ Official Report (Session 2); c 9981, Scottish Parliament, 7 September 2004
  11. ^ Official Report (Session 2); c 10121, Scottish Parliament, 8 September 2004
  12. ^ Stevenson makes 600th Speech, 12 June 2015
  13. ^ "Parliament approves Scottish Ministers" (Press release). Scottish Government. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Parliament, 24 January 2008
  15. ^ The Port of Cairnryan Harbour Empowerment Order 2007, Scottish Parliament, 25 May 2007
  16. ^ Official Report (Session 3); c 4759, Scottish Parliament, 20 December 2007
  17. ^ Official Report (Session 3); c 1127, Scottish Parliament, 27 June 2007
  18. ^ The Archive, The Scotsman, 28 February 1935 (Search Free / Pay to Access)
  19. ^ "Minister says sorry for swearing". BBC News. 12 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Scottish Transport Minister apologises to motorists". BBC News. 7 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson resigns". BBC News. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Salmond completes SNP majority government". BBC News. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  23. ^ "Scottish cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "Banffshire and Buchan Coast result". BBC. 6 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Social media[edit]

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Alex Salmond
Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Banffshire and Buchan Coast
Political offices
Preceded by
Roseanna Cunningham
Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Paul Wheelhouse
Preceded by
Tavish Scott
as Minister for Transport
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Keith Brown
as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure