Ken Macintosh

Kenneth Donald "Ken" Macintosh (born 15 January 1962) is the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and an MSP for the West Scotland region. He was first elected in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election as a Scottish Labour Co-operative Party candidate, and retained his seat of Eastwood in the 2003, 2007 and the 2011 elections, but lost it in the 2016 election. In that election, he was returned on the regional list.

Ken Macintosh

Macintosh in 2011
5th Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
Assumed office
12 May 2016
Preceded byTricia Marwick
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for West Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
5 May 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Eastwood
In office
6 May 1999  5 May 2016
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byJackson Carlaw
Personal details
Kenneth Donald Macintosh

(1962-01-15) 15 January 1962 (age 58)
Inverness, Scotland
Political partyIndependent (2016–present, party membership suspended while Presiding Officer)
Scottish Labour Co-operative Party (Until 2016)
ChildrenFour daughters, two sons
ResidenceBusby, East Renfrewshire
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
OccupationTelevision journalist, producer (1987–1999)

Macintosh was previously employed as a television producer for the BBC, working on its news broadcasts and election coverage between 1987 and 1999.

Early life

Born in Inverness, Macintosh was educated at the Portree and Oban primary schools before attending the state comprehensive Royal High School, Edinburgh. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an History MA (Hons) in 1984.

Both his parents were headteachers. His father, Dr Farquhar Macintosh CBE, was a Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Skye, a leading intellectual in Scottish education, rector of Royal High School and chair of the Scottish Examination Board.[1][2] His mother, Margaret Macintosh, came from Peebles and was head of Drummond Community High and assistant head of Wester Hailes Education Centre.[citation needed]

BBC career

Before Macintosh became an MSP, he was from 1987 to 1999, a television producer for the BBC News Network.[3] He also worked on Breakfast with Frost, Breakfast News, and the Nine O'Clock News. He was also worked as a researcher on election programmes for both David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby.[4]

Member of the Scottish Parliament

At the 1999 election, he won the Eastwood constituency with a majority of 2,125.[5]

In February 2002, Macintosh was appointed as a ministerial parliamentary aide (MPA) to Minister for Education and Young People, Cathy Jamieson.[6] He resigned from this role in September 2002 when he voted against the Labour–Liberal Democrat Coalition Scottish Executive over the closure of the A&E department at the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary.[7]

In 2005 Macintosh had to resign from his position as Deputy Convenor on the Standards Committee after it was revealed he had failed to declare £330 of hospitality from McDonald's within the required time.[8]

In 2006 and 2007 Macintosh has proposed a Member's Bill to the Scottish Parliament providing for the tougher regulation of sunbed parlours, which passed successfully.[9] Since his election in 1999 has been a member of the cross-party group on cancer.[10] From February 2007 to April 2007, he was a Ministerial Parliamentary Aide to the First Minister Jack McConnell.[11]

Macintosh was re-elected as MSP for Eastwood at the 2007 election with a narrow majority of 913, where he fought off a strong challenge from the Conservative Party's Jackson Carlaw.[12] Macintosh was appointed Shadow Minister for Schools and Skills.

Macintosh considered running for the 2008 Scottish Labour leadership election but pulled out and instead backed Andy Kerr's candidacy.[13]

At the 2011 parliamentary election he once again defeated Jackson Carlaw with an increased majority of 2,012. The swing was 8.7% from Conservative to Labour.[14] Macintosh had feared losing the constituency following boundary changes[15] (with the removal of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor) which gave a notional Conservative majority of almost 3,500.[16] After the party's loss to the SNP, Macintosh was made Shadow Culture and External Affairs Secretary.[17] Only a week later, however, he took over the Shadow Education portfolio after MSP Malcolm Chisholm resigned over an internal party disagreement.[18]

At the 2016 election, Macintosh was pushed into third place behind Carlaw and the SNP's Stewart Maxwell. However, he was returned on Labour's regional list for West Scotland.[19]

2011 Scottish Labour Party leadership election

Ken Macintosh launched his candidacy for leader of the Scottish Labour Party on 12 September 2011. MSP colleagues who endorsed his leadership bid included his campaign manager Michael McMahon, Claire Baker, Mary Fee, Neil Bibby, Mark Griffin, Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Marra.[20] Macintosh was also supported by East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy, the co-author of the Review of the Labour Party in Scotland who went on to lead Scottish Labour. Murphy and Macintosh share the same constituency office in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire.[21]

In an address to party members, Macintosh said he was a devolutionist, not a unionist.[22][23]

On 28 October 2011, Macintosh officially launched his leadership campaign at Cumbernauld College in North Lanarkshire. He described the 2011 Holyrood election result as a "disaster", and that the party had been too negative[24] and if it did not change it "will consign ourselves to steady decline and years of opposition. We need to unite as a party and to start talking positively about our values, what Labour stands for and not just what we are against."[25]

In the ensuing leadership election, Macintosh came second to MSP Johann Lamont.

Miliband gaffe

Despite lacking ministerial experience — "having never put a feather on the front bench"[26] — he was widely seen as a frontrunner in the leadership contest; however, UK Labour leader Ed Miliband was unable to recall Ken Macintosh's name during a TV interview with BBC Scotland, during the September 2011 Labour Party Conference.[27] After the interview, Miliband telephoned Macintosh to apologise for his mistake. Later, Macintosh tried to downplay the incident saying "I don't think anyone should read anything into it – half the time I can't even remember the names of my own kids."[28]

2015 Scottish Labour Party leadership election

Following Scottish Labour's near wipeout at the 2015 General Election, Ken Macintosh decided to stand in the 2015 Scottish Labour Party leadership election, triggered by the resignation of Jim Murphy.[29] Macintosh faced a straight two-way contest with previous deputy leader Kezia Dugdale,[30] who won the leadership.[31]

Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

On 12 May 2016, Ken Macintosh was elected presiding officer with 71 votes on the third round of voting. He beat Murdo Fraser, Johann Lamont, John Scott and Elaine Smith. He suspended his Labour membership upon taking office, per the tradition that the Presiding Officer is strictly nonpartisan. In early November 2018 he created controversy when an MSP was sent out of Holyrood’s chamber for wearing a rainbow tie in support of LGBTI rights. Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat, was told to change the garment by Macintosh because it flouted rules against “ostentatious campaign material”.

Personal life

He and his wife Claire live in Busby, East Renfrewshire with their six children.[32]


  1. "Dr Farquhar Macintosh".
  2. "Farquhar Macintosh: Influential figure in Scottish education". The Independent. London. 27 November 2007.
  3. "Labour front bench at-a-glance". BBC News. 14 September 2007.
  4. "Interview: Ken Macintosh". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  5. "New parliament, new Labour, new baby". BBC News. 28 June 1999.
  6. "Ken Macintosh – MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 21 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  7. Aide quits over hospital vote, BBC News, 12 September 2002
  8. 'Standards' MSP resigns over gift, BBC News, 7 June 2005
  9. Sunbed bill 'backed by most MSPs', BBC News 27 December 2006
  10. "Ken Macintosh – MSPs : Scottish Parliament". Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  11. "Ken Macintosh – MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 21 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  12. "Turner out as Labour wins seats". BBC News. 4 May 2007.
  13. "Gray bids for labour leadership". BBC News. 31 July 2008.
  14. Brocklehurst, Steven; Kennedy, Doug (5 May 2011). "Scottish election: As it happened". BBC News.
  15. "Scottish election: Labour's 'class of '99' lose to SNP". BBC News. 6 May 2011.
  16. "Scottish Labour unveils front bench team". BBC News. 20 May 2011.
  17. "Malcolm Chisholm quits Labour's front bench team". BBC News. 31 May 2011.
  18. "Holyrood 2016: Former Scottish leader candidate Ken Macintosh loses seat". BBC News. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  19. . Edinburgh Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  20. "MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 19 November 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  21. "Labour leadership contender rejects unionist label". BBC News. 25 September 2011.
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. "Scottish Labour leader contenders put their cases". BBC News. 31 October 2011.
  24. "Ken Macintosh launches Scottish Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 28 October 2011.
  25. Reid, Tim (27 September 2011). "BBC News – Senior Labour figure makes Scots candidates warning". BBC News.
  26. "Ed Miliband unable to name all Scots leader candidates". BBC News. 29 September 2011.
  27. MacDonell, Hamish (30 September 2011). "Ed Miliband forgets Scottish candidate's name". The Independent. London.
  28. Whitaker, Andrew (18 May 2015). "Ken Macintosh enters Scottish Labour leader race". The Scotsman.
  29. "Five candidates put forward names for Scottish Labour leader posts". BBC News. 15 June 2015.
  30. "Kezia Dugdale elected Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. 15 August 2015.
  31. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)