Stewart McDonald (politician)

Stewart Malcolm McDonald (born 24 August 1986) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Glasgow South constituency since May 2015 and is a member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.[1] He is currently the SNP's Spokesperson for Defence [2]

Stewart McDonald

McDonald in 2019
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow South
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byTom Harris
Majority9,005 (19.0%)
Personal details
Stewart Malcolm McDonald

(1986-08-24) 24 August 1986 (age 34)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party

Early life and education

Born in Castlemilk, Glasgow, his family moved to Govan when he was five years old, as his father was a janitor at a local primary school. He left Govan High School aged eighteen, and worked in a variety of jobs including as a retail manager and a holiday rep in Tenerife before becoming a parliamentary case worker for Anne McLaughlin MSP.[3] After the 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections, he became a case worker for James Dornan MSP.[4]

Political career

He was selected unopposed as the SNP candidate for the Glasgow South constituency in October 2014. At the 2015 UK general election, McDonald was elected with 54.9% of the vote,[5] defeating the Labour incumbent Tom Harris during an SNP landslide across Scotland. His total represented the largest number of actual SNP votes in the city, and the largest majority.[5]

In December 2015, McDonald came second place in the Beard Liberation Front's Parliamentary Beard of the Year Award.[6][7] He was reported to have come very close to winning first place but was narrowly defeated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after Labour MP Diane Abbott urged people on Twitter to vote for Corbyn in the contest.[8][7]

He supports Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention to be available on the NHS.[9][10][11] He has said that those opposing PrEP's introduction to the NHS were being homophobic,[10] and has accused the UK government of "putting more hurdles in the way of the rollout of PrEP."[11]

McDonald retained his seat in the 2017 snap general election with a decreased majority.[12]

In July 2017 McDonald introduced a Private Members' Bill to ban unpaid trial shifts for workers.[13][14] He called the practice "exploitation" for young job-seekers, and his Bill gained the support of the Scottish Trades Union Congress and National Union of Students among others.[15][16] In March 2018 the Bill was talked out of the Commons meaning it could not be voted on.[17][18] A year on from when he first introduced the Bill, he vowed to "keep fighting" to end unpaid trial work.[19]

On 11 April 2018, as the SNP's Defence Spokesperson, McDonald warned Prime Minister Theresa May over launching airstrikes on Syria (in response to the Assad regime's chemical attack on civilians) without first having the airstrikes approved by a parliamentary vote.[20] He said the SNP would support such airstrikes if they were part of a wider plan to bring an end to the war.[21][22] The UK launched airstrikes on 14 April without a parliamentary vote, which McDonald condemned as "gesture bombing".[23][24]

At the 2019 general election, McDonald was re-elected with an increased majority of 9,005 votes.


McDonald has been a long-time supporter of Transgender Rights, and reforming the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland to make it easier for people to self identify. He has stated that "I’ve always stood up for trans rights and I always will - there’s no chance I’ll desert a community that’s integral to our wider movement for equality.".[25] He has also condemned transphobia within the SNP on various occasions,[26] and declared his support First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when some SNP groups objected to her support of reforming the GRA.[27]

Like most of the SNP, McDonald is also a passionate advocate of unilateral nuclear disarmament, stating that "Opposition to nuclear weapons is fundamental to the Scottish independence movement",[28] and has repeatedly called for cooperation with the Labour Party for the purposes of dismantling the Trident Nuclear system.

He has also called for far greater action to be taken in relation to climate change,[29] saying that "In Westminster, MPs have followed the lead of the First Minister and declared a Climate Emergency. We must now ensure this is followed up with real action.", and has praised the climate targets of the Scottish Government.

McDonald is a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.[30]

Electoral History

General election 2019: Glasgow South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Stewart McDonald 22,829 48.1 +7.0
Labour Co-op Johann Lamont 13,824 29.1 -7.5
Conservative Kyle Thornton 6,237 13.1 -6.0
Liberal Democrats Carole Ford 2,786 5.9 +2.7
Green Dan Hutchison 1,251 2.6 New
Brexit Party Danyaal Raja 516 1.1 New
Majority 9,005 19.0 +14.5
Turnout 47,343 66.9 +2.5
SNP hold Swing +7.2
General election 2017: Glasgow South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Stewart McDonald 18,312 41.1 -13.8
Labour Eileen Dinning 16,285 36.6 +6.9
Conservative Taylor Muir 8,506 19.1 +9.4
Liberal Democrats Ewan Hoyle 1,447 3.2 +1.2
Majority 2,027 4.5 -20.7
Turnout 44,550 64.4 -1.5
SNP hold Swing -10.3
General election 2015: Glasgow South
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
SNP Stewart McDonald 26,773 54.9 +34.8
Labour Tom Harris 14,504 29.7 -22.0
Conservative Kyle Thornton 4,752 9.7 -1.8
Green Alastair Whitelaw[31] 1,431 2.9 +0.5
Liberal Democrats Ewan Hoyle[32] 1,019 2.1 -9.7
TUSC Brian Smith[33] 299 0.6 -0.3
Majority 12,269 25.2 N/A
Turnout 48,778 65.9 +4.2
SNP gain from Labour Swing +28.3

Personal life

McDonald is openly gay and, on 19 May 2015, gathered with other LGBT SNP MPs, including his near-namesake Stuart McDonald, to campaign for a "Yes" vote in the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage, being held three days later.[34] He is also an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[35]

Honours and Awards


  1. "Transport Committee — membership". House of Commons. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  2. "Scottish National Party Spokespersons". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  3. "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". David Leask. The Herald. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  4. Paterson, Stewart (7 November 2014). "General election: battle for Glasgow". Evening Times. Newsquest. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. "Glasgow South Parliamentary constituency". BBC Election 2015. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  6. "Stewart McDonald is within a whisker of triumph in Parliamentary Beard of the Year contest". The National. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  7. Perraudin, Frances (11 December 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn wins parliamentary beard of the year by a whisker". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  8. Bloom, Dan (10 December 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn 'has won Beard of the Year by a whisker' after a last-minute surge". mirror. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  9. "MPs Warn Delay In HIV Prevention Drug Will Lead To Death Of Hundreds". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  10. "There's a whiff of homophobia surrounding the PrEP debate". Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  11. "PrEP: The Right Thing To Do And A Reminder Of Just How Wrong We Were". HuffPost UK. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  12. "Glasgow South parliamentary constituency - Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  13. "Unpaid Trial Shifts: Young People Working 40 Hours For Free In Desperate Bids To Find Jobs". HuffPost UK. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  14. "MP launches bid to outlaw 'unscrupulous' unpaid work trials". The Independent. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  15. "Campaign to end unpaid 'trial shifts'". BBC News. 24 December 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  16. "Stewart McDonald introduces private members' bill to ban unpaid trial shifts". Holyrood Magazine. 17 July 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  17. "MP's bid to ban unpaid trial shifts fails". BBC News. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  18. "MP vows to fight on after Bill banning unpaid trial shifts is talked out". The National. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  19. McDonald, Stewart (19 July 2018). "SNP MP vows to keep fighting against exploitative unpaid trial shifts". dailyrecord. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  20. "SNP call for Commons vote on UK role in Syria". Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  21. "SNP MP warns May over launching strikes on Syria". Evening Times. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  22. Macdonell, Hamish (12 April 2018). "SNP urges May to rethink Syria raids". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  23. (14 April 2018). "SNP accuse Theresa May of 'gesture bombing' over Syria military action". Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  24. Cullen, Ellie (14 April 2018). "Scots politicans blast Theresa May as Britain launches air strikes on Syria". dailyrecord. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  25. "". Twitter. Retrieved 15 December 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  26. "". Twitter. Retrieved 15 December 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  27. "SNP MSPs criticise Nicola Sturgeon over trans rights". BBC News. 17 April 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  28. "Stewart McDonald: 'We could have the first chance in British history to get rid of nuclear weapons. We'd be mad not to take it'". Politics Home. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  29. "Issues - My policy positions | Climate crisis". Stewart McDonald MP. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  30. "Stewart McDonald MP". Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  31. "Seven Greens bid for city seats". Evening Times.
  32. "List of selected candidates". Liberal Democrats. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  34. ""The Gayest Group in Westminster" is urging Ireland to vote Yes to same-sex marriage". BuzzFeed. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  35. "Stewart McDonald MP". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  36. "Jack Laurenson: Ukraine's Friend and Foe of the Week | KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice". KyivPost. Retrieved 25 February 2020.