Alasdair Allan

Alasdair James Allan (born 6 May 1971) is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency. He was the Scottish Government's Minister for International Development and Europe from 2016 to 2018. He speaks Scottish Gaelic, Norwegian, Scots and English.

Alasdair Allan

Minister for International Development and Europe
In office
18 May 2016  26 June 2018
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byHumza Yousaf (as Minister for Europe and International Development)
Succeeded byBen Macpherson
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages
In office
7 December 2011  18 May 2016
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded byHimself (as Minister for Learning and Skills)
Succeeded byShirley-Anne Somerville (as Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science)
Minister for Learning and Skills
In office
20 May 2011  7 December 2011
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Preceded byAngela Constance as Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning
Succeeded byHimself (as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded byAlasdair Morrison
Majority3,496 (26.5%)
Personal details
Born (1971-05-06) 6 May 1971 (age 49)
Ashkirk, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materUniversity of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow


A native of Ashkirk,[1] near Selkirk, Allan was born on 6 May 1971 to Christine and John H. Allan. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA in Scottish Language and Literature, continuing his studies at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with a PhD in Scots language in 1998.[2]

He devoted his time and employment to the Scottish National Party[3] (SNP) in Peterhead, working for Alex Salmond MP, the now former First Minister of Scotland, and he subsequently became assistant to Michael Russell MSP.

Allan was the SNP candidate for Gordon at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. As National Secretary of the SNP, he was responsible in July 2004 for the expulsion of Campbell Martin MSP from the party after Martin had claimed that there was a case for supporters of independence not voting SNP.[4]

Allan was next in line to become a list MSP for North East Scotland when Richard Lochhead resigned to fight the Moray by-election, however he decided instead to devote himself to contesting Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Scottish Parliament constituency), a key Labour–SNP marginal seat in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. He relocated to Lewis and resigned his post as SNP National Secretary.[5] This move proved successful, as he was elected with 46.6% of the vote – a 5.4% swing from Labour.

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament General Election Allan again stood for the SNP in the now renamed seat of Na h-Eileanan an Iar and increased his majority, returning to Holyrood with 65.3% of the vote, an increase of 18.7% and a swing of 15.8% from Labour.[6]

He is a speaker and strong supporter of Scottish Gaelic and Scots and holds a PhD on the latter. He authored the booklet Talking Independence, which sought to answer questions about Scottish independence, ranging from "What will I pay in tax?" to "Will I still be able to visit relatives in England?" and "Will we still get EastEnders?".

Allan voted against same-sex marriage in Scotland, saying he "favours the traditional definition of marriage" – in contrast to the position of the majority of the SNP government.[7]

See also


  1. "Alasdair Allan on making Scotland's voice heard". Holyrood. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. "Allan, Dr Alasdair James, (born 6 May 1971), Member (SNP) Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish Parliament, since 2011 (Western Isles, 2007–11); Minister for International Development and Europe, since 2016", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2008, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u246432, retrieved 31 August 2019
  3. "Salmond on brink of victory in SNP leadership battle". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  4. BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Nationalists throw out rebel MSP
  5. "Grant Thoms — SNP – Scottish National Party". Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  6. "BBC News - Election 2011 - Scotland - Na h-Eileanan an Iar". BBC News. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  7. "Scottish education minster: I support civil partnerships but not same-sex marriage". PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2019.