Born: Bangour Hospital 1969
Married:to Fiona with one daughter, Chloe
Lives: Fauldhouse, West Lothian
Education: St Kentigern’s Academy Blackburn
Further Education: West Lothian college
Higher Education: BA Geography and Politics Strathclyde University, PGCE Glasgow University
Employment history: On leaving school - apprentice and tradesman bricklayer with father’s small business before returning to education full time. On graduating worked as a housing officer then Senior Housing officer with Housing Association and local authority sector. Returned to education, training as a teacher working for 8 years in schools and colleges in the Falkirk area.
Voluntary work: Founding member and director of Fauldhouse community development trust, former community councillor and member of various community organisations
Hobbies/free time: cooking, enjoying my garden, cycling, socialising with friends (going for a pint)
Political career: joined the Labour party following the Miners’ strike and during the poll tax. Served in almost every post at a local level in a voluntary capacity. Worked very closely with Tam Dalyell during his time as Linlithgow MP. Member of the EIS teaching union. Elected to West Lothian Council in 2003 and in 2007 topped the poll in the Breich Valley ward election.
Parliamentary career: elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2011 as an MSP for the Lothian region, re-elected in 2016.
2011-2013 Served as the Education and culture committee Deputy Convener.
2012-2013 Shadow Minister for Skills and Learning
2013- 2014 Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
Jan 2015 - April 2015 Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Fair work skills and training
May 2016 - Present Chair of the health and sport Committee
Named ‘Community Politician of the Year’ at the 2015 Scottish Politician of the year awards.
Member of UNITE the Union, The Educational institute for Scotland and Scottish CND.
Political interests: the economy, housing, the environment, local government, community development