Michael Matheson (politician)

Michael Matheson
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Assumed office
21 November 2014
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Kenny MacAskill
Minister for Public Health
In office
20 May 2011  21 November 2014
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Shona Robison
Succeeded by Maureen Watt
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Falkirk West
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded by Dennis Canavan
Majority 11,280 (35.1%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Central Scotland
In office
6 May 1999  3 May 2007
Personal details
Born (1970-09-08) 8 September 1970
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Children 3
Alma mater Queen Margaret University
Open University
Profession Occupational therapist
Religion Roman Catholic

Michael Stephen Matheson (born 8 September 1970) is a Scottish politician who has been the Cabinet Secretary for Justice since 2014. He has been a Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999, first representing Central Scotland and, since 2007, the Falkirk West constituency.

Early life

Matheson was born in Glasgow and was educated at St John Bosco Secondary School in the city. He then attended Queen Margaret College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy in 1991. He later went on to graduate from the Open University with both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Postgraduate diploma in applied social sciences.

Following graduation, he worked as a community occupational therapist for eight years, until his election to the Scottish Parliament. During that time he worked for Highland Regional Council, Central Regional Council and Stirling Council.

Political career

Westminster parliamentary candidate

Matheson first stood as a parliamentary candidate for the SNP in the 1997 general election, standing for the newly created Hamilton North and Bellshill constituency.

Member of the Scottish Parliament

In the 1999 Scottish parliamentary election, Matheson contested the Falkirk West constituency, which was won by the independent Dennis Canavan, who had been rejected by the Labour Party.[1] However, Matheson was ranked third on the SNP's regional list for Central Scotland and was one of the five SNP candidates elected in the region.

He served as Shadow Deputy Minister for Justice from May 1999 until September 2004, and as Shadow Deputy Minister for Rural Development from October 2001 until September 2004. Matheson also served on the Equal Opportunities Committee, the Justice and Home Affairs Committee, and the Justice 1 Committee between 1999 and 2004.[2] During the 2000 SNP deputy leadership election, he was the campaign manager for Roseanna Cunningham.

He contested the Falkirk West constituency again at the 2003 Scottish parliamentary election, and although it was won again by Denis Canavan, Matheson was re-elected as one of three SNP MSPs for Central Scotland. In the parliament's second session he served on the Justice 1 Committee, the Enterprise and Culture Committee and the Justice 2 Committee. From September 2004 until September 2006, he was Shadow Minister for Culture and Sport.[3]

Matheson won the constituency in the 2007 election with a majority of 776 votes over Labour, after Canavan stepped down.[1] (Canavan later endorsed Matheson for re-election in 2011).[1]

Matheson was a member of the Health and Sport Committee from June 2007 until March 2011 and was the Deputy Convener of the European and External Relations Committee from March 2009 until July 2010.[4] He was also a member of the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill Committee.[4]

Before becoming a Minister, Matheson was actively involved in a number of Parliamentary Cross-Party Groups, including those on Malawi, Sport, Alzheimer's disease, International development, Russia and Taiwan.

At the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election, he retained his seat with an increased majority of 5,745 votes over Labour.

Government Minister

He was appointed as Minister for Public Health after the SNP landslide in 2011, a position he held until the November 2014 reshuflle which saw him promoted to Cabinet rank as Cabinet Secretary for Justice.


Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland
Succeeded by
Jamie Hepburn
Preceded by
Dennis Canavan
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West
Political offices
Preceded by
Shona Robison
Minister for Public Health
Succeeded by
Maureen Watt
Preceded by
Kenny MacAskill
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
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