Following a 19 year career as an economic development consultant to public and private sector clients, Paul Wheelhouse was elected to serve as an MSP representing the South of Scotland in 2011, at which time Paul joined the Parliament’s Finance Committee and Standards procedures and Public Appointments Committee. A regular contributor to debates in his first year, where he was one of the most frequent speakers in debate, Paul served on a number of cross party groups and was deputy convener of the Cross Party Group on Sport. Paul was promoted to Ministerial Office in September 2012, initially as Minister for Environment & Climate Change, where Paul was able to build his knowledge of agricultural policy, and, from November 2014, as Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs. Paul was awarded ‘Politician of the Year’ in the 2015 Nature of Scotland Awards in recognition of his contribution to conservation of Scotland’s wildlife and natural environment.

Age: 45, born at Dundonald, near Belfast, June 1970. Paul moved to Scotland as a 3 year old, growing up in Edinburgh.

Family: One Son

Home: Ayton, near Eyemouth, in the constituency. Has lived in the constituency since July 2000 (initially at Cove, near Cockburnspath)


University of Aberdeen 1988-1992 – MA Hons in Economic Science

University of Edinburgh (1997-99) – MBA

Previous Occupation:

Assistant Economist/ Economic Consultant/ Senior Economic Consultant 1992-2011

Positions held:

Member of Scottish Parliament for South Scotland (SNP) (2011-present)

Minister for Environment & Climate Change (Sep 2012-Nov 2014)

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs (since Nov 2014)

About Paul: Detailed Personal Information

Paul was born in Belfast in 1970, and following moving to Scotland at the age of 3 years old, in 1973, Paul was raised in Edinburgh, attending Stewart's Melville College. Paul has an honours degree (MA Hons) in Economics from the University of Aberdeen (1992) and a Masters degree (MBA) from University of Edinburgh (1999).

Paul has lived in Berwickshire since 2000, initially living in Cove, near Cockburnspath, where Paul gained his first experience as a volunteer as the secretary of the Community Council, before moving to Ayton in 2005, where Paul volunteered again as a Community Councillor, until having to, in 2011, relinquish both that role and his role as the local Parent Council chairperson - following his election to the Scottish Parliament.

Paul has one son and Paul’s personal interests are, aside from spending time with his son, reading, cinema, history, genealogy, having traced his Turnbull roots to the Hawick area in 1767, and enjoying travelling around Scotland. Paul is also a keen follower of both Scottish football and rugby.

Education and Professional Background

Paul worked as a professional economist and economic development consultant for 19 years prior to his election in 2011, and in doing so worked for two well-known and respected economic consultancies, Pieda plc (later known as DTZ Pieda Consulting) and BiGGAR Economics. Paul developed a particular expertise in the following areas: higher and further education markets, including two major reviews of college sector activity across Scotland; policy evaluation studies; and economic appraisal and impact assessment of capital projects. Latterly, Paul also participated in a number of Local Plan Inquiries as an expert witness relating to the impact of housing developments on local schools infrastructure.

Paul has not had any second income since he was elected in 2011, having managed to extract himself from all work that was incomplete at the time of his election. He has been working on a full-time basis as MSP since May 2011 and has not sought election to any other chamber (Westminster or Europe).

Political Career to date

Paul joined the SNP in 2003 and has held a number of branch and constituency office bearer positions. Paul first stood for the SNP in the 2010 UK general election, in Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, when, he increased the party share of the vote and number of votes on a disappointing night for the party across Scotland.

Paul stood for the (then) newly created Scottish Parliamentary constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire in 2011, significantly improving the party vote share and votes, moving the party from third place to a clear second place, well ahead of the Lib Dems, with the seat being won by the Tories – this was achieved despite Lib Dem claims that it was a two horse race between the Tories and Lib Dems.

Nevertheless, despite the disappointment of missing out on the role he would have most wanted, Paul was elected to the Scottish Parliament via the Regional List vote, where some 114,000 people across the South of Scotland voted SNP, with 4 list members being elected on the night.

Paul initially held a number of roles in the Scottish Parliament, as a backbench SNP MSP for South Scotland, including roles as Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead MSP and then for the Cabinet Secretary for Government Strategy & Parliamentary Business, Rt Hon Bruce Crawford MSP.

In September 2012, after just over 1 year as a backbench MSP, Paul was appointed Minister for Environment and Climate Change by former First Minister, Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP and more recently, by the First Minister, the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, as her Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs in her first Ministerial team appointed in November 2014. Paul has been responsible for the passage of 6 Bills in his time as a Minister-an

unusually large number for a single parliamentary session, including:

* Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act, 2013

* Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act, 2013

* Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act, 2014

* Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act, 2015

* Succession (Scotland) Bill, 2016

* Community Justice (Scotland) Bill, 2016

Prior to taking up his Ministerial position, Paul sat on the highly influential Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament and on the Standards, Procedres and Public Appointments Committee. Paul was a frequent contributor to Parliamentary debates, with some 38 chamber speeches in his first 12 months in the role. Paul was also an active member of a number cross-party groups on topics including: Epilepsy, Rural Policy, Armed Forces Veterans, Funerals and Bereavement, Boating and Marine Tourism and Paul served as deputy convener of the Cross Party Group on Sport, working with the late Margo MacDonald MSP. Paul was also actively involved in helping establish CPGs on Postal Services and Town Centres when he was called to serve in the Government.

Paul is proud to have operated, in his role as a Regional member of the Scottish Parliament from his Parliamentary Office in 8 Sandbed, Hawick, since 2012 and, aside from helping a very substantial number of constituents, Paul has focused on: rail transport and regeneration projects; support for the textiles and food and drink sectors in the region; in engagement on matters affecting land managers, farmers and fishermen; and in tackling broadband and mobile phone coverage issues.

Paul was the winner of the annual Nature of Scotland Awards, 2015, ‘Politician of the Year’, having also been short-listed for the same award in 2014.


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