John Finnie

John Bradford Finnie (born 31 December 1956) is a Scottish Greens politician. He is the Green Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Highlands and Islands region since 2016, having previously sat as a Scottish National Party (SNP) member from 2011 to 2012 then as an independent from 2012 to 2016.

John Finnie

Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Highlands and Islands
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
6 May 2011
Personal details
Born (1956-12-31) 31 December 1956 (age 63)
Clunes, Lochaber, Scotland
Political partyScottish Greens
Independent (2012–2014)
Scottish National Party (until 2012)
ChildrenRuth Maguire
OccupationPolice officer

He was formerly a police officer and then a councillor.

Early life

Finnie was born in Clunes, and was educated at Achnacarry Primary and Lochaber High School.[1]


Finnie became a police officer in 1976[2] and served with the Lothian and Borders Police and then as a uniformed Constable, latterly a Constable Dog Handler within the Northern Constabulary.[3] He was a full-time elected official – Constable Secretary, local branch of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF).[4]

Political career

Finnie developed political awareness while still at High School and joined the SNP at 16 years old.[2] He first stood as a candidate in a 2006 by-election for a Highland Council seat.[2] In 2007 he was elected to representing the Inverness Ness-side ward on Highland Council.[5] He was SNP group leader and an SNP-Independent administration was formed.[6] In June 2008 the coalition split.[7] In November 2010, Finnie wrote to the Lord Advocate, urging her to reinvestigate the case of Willie McRae, who died in 1985.[8]

Finnie was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 election.[9] He was parliamentary liaison officer to the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.[4]

Finnie resigned from the SNP on 23 October 2012 over the party's decision to support NATO membership for an independent Scotland,[10] attending Holyrood as an independent member. In November of that year, he denied rumours that he was planning to join the Scottish Socialist Party.[11] Eventually, in October 2014, he joined the Scottish Green Party[12] although continued as an Independent MSP until the end of that session of parliament.[13]

In November 2013, Finnie submitted a Private Member's Bill proposal seeking to abolish the requirement for mandatory involvement of religious representatives on local authorities’ education committees.[14]

In March 2015, the Scottish Greens balloted their members to select candidates for the 2016 election, Finnie was placed top on their Highlands and Islands regional list.[15] He was re-elected in the 2016 election and was joined in the Scottish Parliament by his daughter, Ruth Maguire, who represents Cunninghame South for the SNP.[16]

In November 2016 he was announced as a member of the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, having been nominated to represent the Scottish Greens.[17]

In May 2017, Finnie introduced a Private Member's Bill proposal seeking equal protection from assault for children by prohibiting their physical punishment by parents and others in charge of them. On 5 September 2017, the Scottish Government included support for his proposal in its Programme for Government for 2017–18.[18] The proposed measures became law on 7 November 2019 (Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019).[19]


  1. "MSP views Old Fort makeover project". Lochaber News. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. Ross, Calum (28 September 2007). "Ex-cop John now patrols a different beat". The Inverness Courier. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  3. "Rebel with a cause". Holyrood. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  4. Ross, David (12 May 2014). "Highlands row over armed police". The Herald. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  5. "Election results 2007". Local Government elections. Highland Council. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  6. "U-turn hope in city care homes sell-off". The Inverness Courier. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  7. "Highland Council coalition splits". BBC News. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  8. Munro, Alistair (2 November 2010). "Reopen case of Willie McRae, Scotland's David Kelly, after 25 years, Lord Advocate is urged". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  9. "Previous MSPs: Session 4: Finnie, John". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  10. "MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart quit SNP over Nato policy". BBC News. BBC. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  11. "No SSP move for Finnie". The Herald. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  12. "Former SNP MSP John Finnie defects to Greens". BBC News. BBC. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  13. "Why I've joined the Scottish Greens". Blog. John Finnie MSP. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  14. Munro, Alastair (5 November 2013). "Bid to remove religious voice from education". The Scotsman. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  15. "Scottish Greens regional list candidates". Holyrood. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  16. Gordon, Tom (8 May 2016). "Father and daughter to be MSPs across the aisle". The Herald. Herald and Times Group. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  17. "Presiding Officer names Parliament reform commission members". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  18. "Programme for Government 2017-18". Scottish Government. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  19. "Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 14 June 2020.