The original Edinburgh and Lothian MSPs: where are they now?

THE SNP’s Fiona Hyslop is the only one of the original MSPs elected for Edinburgh or the Lothians in 1999 who has served in the parliament throughout the 20 years.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 7:43 pm
Susan Deacon

She started as a list MSP but won Linlithgow in 2011 and is currently Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.

Susan Deacon (Lab, Edinburgh East) was Scotland’s first Health Minister under Donald Dewar. She stood down as an MSP in 2007 and became professor of social change at Queen Margaret University, moving later to Edinburgh University, where she was appointed assistant principal. In 2017 she took over as chair of the troubled Scottish Police Authority and is also a non-executive director of Lothian Buses.

Angus MacKay (Lab, Edinburgh South) was Finance Minister in Henry McLeish’s government, but lost his seat in 2003. He has been running his own business, organising public policy conferences ever since.

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David Steel

Malcolm Chisholm, (Lab, Edinburgh North and Leith) retired in 2016 but is still involved with many groups in the constituency, enjoys looking after his four grandchildren and is also learning Spanish.

Margaret Smith (Lib Dem, Edinburgh West) was first convener of the parliament’s health committee. After losing her seat in 2011 she became director of a public affairs consultancy and also appears on TV as a commentator.

Sarah Boyack (Lab, Edinburgh Central) was Minister for Transport and Environment under Donald Dewar. She held her seat until 2011 and then continued as a Lothian list MSP until 2016. She got a job as head of public affairs at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations - but is now about to return to Holyrood to replace Kezia Dugdale.

Iain Gray (Lab, Edinburgh Pentlands) was Minister for Transport, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning but lost his seat in 2003 and spent four years out of parliament - some of it as a special adviser to Alistair Darling - before being re-elected as MSP for East Lothian, then becoming Labour leader from 2008 to 2011. He is still on Labour’s frontbench.

Sarah Boyack

John Home Robertson (Lab, East Lothian) stood down in 2007 but continues to take part in humanitarian convoys organised by Edinburgh Direct Aid, a charity he has volunteered with for 25 years.

Bristow Muldoon (Lab, Livingston) lost his seat to the SNP in 2007. He was then appointed as Scottish Parliamentary Liaison Officer jointly for the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry and remained in the post until last year.

Mary Mulligan (Lab, Linlithgow) lost her seat to the SNP in 2011 and now works as church development officer with Christian Aid.|

Rhona Brankin (Lab, Midlothian) stood down in 2011 and now serves on the board of Leuchie House, a respite home in North Berwick.

Robin Harper

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton (Con, Lothian list) stood down in 2007 and now takes an active part in the House of Lords.

Kenny MacAskill (SNP, Lothian list) won Edinburgh East in 2007 and was Justice Secretary for seven years. He stepped down from Holyrood in 2016 but writes regularly in the media.

David Steel was elected as a Lothian Lib Dem MSP before becoming the parliament’s first presiding officer. He stood down after one term but continues as a peer in the House of Lords.

Robin Harper (Green, Lothian list) stood down in 2011. He chaired the Scottish Wildlife Trust and served on the board of the National Trust, was awarded an OBE and now chairs the Astley Ainslie Community Trust which is seeking a community takeover of the hospital site.

Sadly, two of the most prominent Lothian MSPs have died - David McLetchie, the Tories first leader at Holyrood, in 2013 and the redoutable independent - originally SNP - MSP Margo MacDonald in 2014.