Holyrood 2016: Who are the new MSPs?

Polling station at Victoria Hall, SelkirkPolling station at Victoria Hall, Selkirk
Polling station at Victoria Hall, Selkirk
A host of new MSPs won their first seats in what was a historic election night.

The Scottish Nationalists won a third successive Scottish election, something never before achieved, albeit without a majority.

The Conservatives displaced Labour as the so-called main opposition party in Scotland as Ruth Davidson and her party made significant gains across the nation.

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The Greens had a good night also, returning 6 MSPs via the regional list.

Picture: TSPLPicture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

We look at the new constituency and regional MSPs who have won their first ever seat.

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Holyrood 2016: SNP fall short of overall majority


Gillian Martin- SNP

Gillian Martin wins Aberdeenshire East.Gillian Martin wins Aberdeenshire East.
Gillian Martin wins Aberdeenshire East.

Aberdeenshire East

Gillian Martin, 47, from Newburgh, joined the SNP in the post-independence 2014 surge that saw the party’s membership soar.

A former lecturer and the founder of the Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire branches of Women for Independence, Martin has been the manager of an emergency media response team for oil and gas companies for 10 years.

The day after the UK general election, Martin was approached to stand as a candidate in the Holyrood elections in Alex Salmond’s former seat of Aberdeenshire East.

Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton in celebratory mood after winning Edinburgh Western.Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton in celebratory mood after winning Edinburgh Western.
Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton in celebratory mood after winning Edinburgh Western.

Alexander Burnett - Conservative
Aberdeenshire West
The Tories sealed Aberdeenshire West with Alexander Burnett taking the constituency from the SNP’s Dennis Robertson.

Mairi Evans - SNP

Angus North & Mearns

After nine years as an Angus Council representative for Brechin, Mairi Evans will take her place at Holyrood after securing victory in the Angus North & Mearns constituency.

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale arrives at the count with her partner Louise Riddell and  Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson. Picture: JP Licence.Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale arrives at the count with her partner Louise Riddell and  Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson. Picture: JP Licence.
Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale arrives at the count with her partner Louise Riddell and Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson. Picture: JP Licence.

She seized the candidacy from the 2011 SNP incumbent Nigel Don, who was dumped by the region’s party members prior to the election.

Gail Ross - SNP

Caithness, Sutherland & Ross

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Gail Ross replaces her party colleague Rob Gibson, who did not seek re-election. Speaking about his replacement, Gibson said: “Gail has the experience of winning her council elections, of serving Wick and making her mark in the Highland Council.

“Now is her chance to shine on the Scottish stage.”

Ross is currently a councillor serving her hometown of Wick in Caithness.

Picture: TSPLPicture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

Jeanne Freeman - SNP

Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley

Once a Labour Party insider, Jeane Freeman is now the SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley. Freeman entered politics through the Labour party and was a senior political adviser to First Minister Jack McConnell from 2001 - 2005. After Freeman left, the Scottish Executive hired her consultancy firm, Freeman Associates, in a consultancy capacity, generating accusations of cronyism.

During the independence referendum, she was a key figure in the Women for Independence grassroot movement.

Fulton MacGregor - SNP

Coatbridge & Cryston

Fulton MacGregor defeated incumbent Labour MSP Elaine Smith securing another gain for the SNP. In April, MacGregor was the subject of a complaint to the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), alleging he had improperly accessed confidential data files about a relative of a party colleague in his job as a social worker with South Lanarkshire Council. The new candidate dismissed the allegations saying they were “political motivated”. South Lanarkshire Council investigated the complaint and found no wrongdoing.

Cunninghame South

Originally from the Highlands, Ruth Maguire has lived in the west, central Scotland with her husband and two children for twenty years. Before entering politics she had a career with an independent whisky company before moving to various roles in the IT industry. Elected to represent the Irvine West council ward in 2012, Maguire is the SNP cabinet member for Finance, Corporate Support and Welfare Reform. 
Oliver Mundell - Conservative

The son of the Tories’ only Scottish MP, Oliver Mundell seized the Borders seat from Labour incumbent Elaine Murray holding off competition from the SNP’s Joan McAlpine - and by winning the seat, outdid his father who unsuccessfully contested the seat three times.

Ash Denham - SNP

Edinburgh Eastern
Social justice advocate, Denham was a lobbyist for the left-wing Common Weal think tank before becoming an SNP candidate. She defeated Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in Edinburgh Eastern and held the seat for the SNP. The previous incumbent, ex-Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill retired from politics amid a turbulent tenure that saw him widely criticised for releasing the Lockerbie Bomber.

Ben Macpherson - SNP

Edinburgh Northern and Leith

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Ben Macpherson, 31, was chosen by party members from a crowded field of ten hopefuls to be the SNP candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith last year.

The Edinburgh lawyer has taken the only Holyrood seat in the Capital which the SNP did not hold in the previous Parliament.

Daniel Johnson - Labour
Edinburgh Southern
A lifelong Labour member Daniel Johnson was one of the few Labour MSPs to have a good night. He captured Edinburgh Southern for the party joining Westminster colleague Ian Murray MP as a Labour representative for the south of Edinburgh. 
Outside of politics Johnson is Managing director of the Studio One and Paper Tiger group of shops in Edinburgh.

Alex Cole-Hamilton - Liberal Democrats

Edinburgh Western

Before entering politics Cole-Hamilton worked for a range of children’s charities. The new MSP nabbed Edinburgh Western for the Lib Dems, cruising to a comfortable victory over the SNP’s Toni Giugliano.

Giugliano had replaced Colin Keir as the Nationalists’ candidate while Cole-Hamilton took the seat back from the SNP after Keir’s victory in 2011.

Finlay Carson - Conservative
Galloway and West Dumfries

Finlay Carson held Galloway and West Dumfries for the Tories, taking the place of fellow Conservative, Alex Fergusson who stepped down.

Ivan McKee - SNP

Glasgow Provan

Brought up in Glasgow McKee has worked internationally during a 30 year career in manufacturing and business.

Winning with a majority of 4,783, McKee played his part in helping the SNP to victory in all eight of the constituency seats in Glasgow.

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Heavily involved with the Business for Independence group, McKee saw off competition from Labour’s Paul Martin to take the seat.

Jenny Gilruth - SNP

Mid FIfe & Glenrothes

Following the retirement of Holyrood’s Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, the SNP found a replacement in Jenny Gilruth.

Gilruth, a former teacher at a Fife secondary school, went into her first election night with a 4000 majority that was bequeathed to her by Marwick.

Tom Arthur - SNP

Renfrewshire South

Tom Arthur was born in Paisley and raised in Barrhead. Arthur, a musician and former leader of the SNP’s youth wing, was chosen as the new candidate for Renfrewshire South in November.

In January he was urged to cut links to controversial councillor and activist Andy Doig, who was accused of homophobia following comments he made about SNP Transport Minister Derek Mackay.

Arthur held Renfrewshire South comfortably with a 4,400 majority.

Clare Haughey - SNP

Clare Haughey became the first non-Labour MSP in the constituency’s history, sweeping to success with 15,222 votes. Mum-of-three Haughey is a mental health nurse, specialising in working with mums who are pregnant or have a baby under one. She is also an active trade unionist and a UNISON convener.

Kate Forbes - SNP

Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch

Kate Forbes is from Dingwall, although she spent over five years growing up in India.

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She returned to Scotland aged 15 and left Dingwall Academy three years later to study History at Cambridge University. A fluent Gaelic speaker, Forbes held Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch for the SNP.

Rona Mackay - SNP

Strathkelvin & Bearsden

Rona Mackay held Strathkelvin & Bearsden for the Nationalists. Mackay spent eight years as a parliamentary assistant to Clydebank MSP Gil Paterson and has worked as a journalist and columnist for the Independence magazine. Mackay replaces SNP’s Fiona McLeod, who stood down this year.


Central ScotlandScottish Labour: Richard Leonard (NEW), Monica Lennon (NEW), Mark Griffin, Elaine Smith.

Scottish Conservatives: Margaret Mitchell, Graham Simpson (NEW), Alison Harris (NEW).


Scottish Labour: Anas Sarwar, Johann Lamont, James Kelly, Pauline McNeill.

Scottish Conservatives: Adam Tomkins (NEW), Annie Wells (NEW).

Scottish Green Party: Patrick Harvie.
Highlands and Islands
Scottish Conservatives: Douglas Ross (NEW), Edward Mountain (NEW), Donald Cameron (NEW)
Scottish Labour: Rhoda Grant, David Stewart

Scottish National Party: Maree Todd (NEW)

Scottish Green Party: John Finnie
LothianScottish Conservatives: Miles Briggs (NEW), Gordon Lindhurst (NEW), Jeremy Balfour (NEW).

Scottish Labour: Kezia Dugdale, Neil Findlay.

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Scottish Green Party: Alison Johnstone, Andy Wightman (NEW).

Mid Scotland and Fife
Scottish Conservatives: Murdo Fraser, Liz Smith, Dean Lockhart (NEW), Alexander Stewart (NEW).

Scottish Labour: Alex Rowley, Claire Baker

Scottish Green: Mark Ruskell

North East Scotland
Scottish Conservatives: Alex Johnstone, Ross Thomson (NEW), Peter Chapman (NEW), Liam Kerr (NEW).
Scottish Labour: Jenny Marra, Lewis MacDonald.

Scottish Lib Dems: Mike Rumbles

South Scotland

Scottish National Party: Joan McAlpine, Emma Harper (NEW), Paul Wheelhouse.

Scottish Conservatives: Rachael Hamilton (NEW), Brian Whittle (NEW).

Scottish Labour: Claudia Beamish, Colin Smyth (NEW).

West Scotland

Scottish Labour: Neil Bibby, Mary Fee, Ken MacIntosh.

Scottish Conservatives: Jamie Greene (NEW), Maurice Golden (NEW), Maurice Corry (NEW).
Scottish Green Party: Ross Greer (NEW)