Meet Lothian's new MPs: Douglas Alexander, Labour MP for Lothian East

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New Lothian East MP Douglas Alexander is one of a relatively small band in the new House of Commons who served in the last Labour government - and he has already been given a job in Keir Starmer’s new government.

Mr Alexander, 56, was named on Saturday as a minister in the Department of Business and Trade.

Douglas Alexander is back after nine years and has already been made a minister.Douglas Alexander is back after nine years and has already been made a minister.
Douglas Alexander is back after nine years and has already been made a minister. | TSPL

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He held several junior ministerial posts in Tony Blair’s government before being given the joint roles of Transport Secretary and Scottish Secretary in 2006.  Just over a year later, Gordon Brown appointed him International Development Secretary, a post he then held until Labour's defeat in the 2010 general election.

Mr Alexander returns to parliament nine years after losing his previous seat, Paisley and Renfrewshire South, to the SNP's Mhairi Black, who was then a 20-year-old student.

The son of a Church of Scotland minister, he is the younger brother of former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander. He grew up in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, studied politics and modern history at Edinburgh University, worked as a researcher and speech writer for Gordon Brown, went back to Edinburgh University to study law, qualified as a solicitor and specialised in industrial injury cases.

He stood unsuccessfully in the 1995 Perth and Kinross by-election, which was won by the SNP, but became an MP two years later, winning the 1997 Paisley South by-election.  He played key national co-ordinating roles in several general election campaigns, including 2001, 2010 and 2015.  

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While out of parliament, he teamed up with Bono in seeking investment to tackle global poverty, became a fellow at Harvard University, made and presented several programmes for BBC Radio 4, served as chair of the board of trustees for UNICEF UK and joined the court of Edinburgh University.

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