Richard Lochhead

Richard Lochhead
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment
In office
17 May 2007  18 May 2016
First Minister Alex Salmond
Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Ross Finnie
Succeeded by Fergus Ewing
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Moray
Assumed office
27 April 2006
Preceded by Margaret Ewing
Majority 2,875
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
6 May 1999  19 April 2006
Preceded by new parliament
Succeeded by Maureen Watt
Personal details
Born (1969-05-24) 24 May 1969
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Fiona Lochhead
Children 2
Alma mater University of Stirling
Occupation Office manager; Economic development officer

Richard Neilson Lochhead (born 24 May 1969) is a Scottish politician who was the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment from 2007 to 2016 and has been the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Moray since 2006.

Background and early career

A native of Paisley, Lochhead attended Williamwood High School in Clarkston and Central College of Commerce in Glasgow before he graduated in 1994 in Political Studies from the University of Stirling. He worked for the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, as his Office Manager from 1994 to 1998, before becoming an environmental development officer for Dundee City Council. He was the SNP candidate in Gordon in the 1997 UK General Election, where he finished third. He subsequently fought the Aberdeen Central constituency in both 1999 and 2003, but came second to Lewis Macdonald each time.

Lochhead is married to Fiona, and they live in Elgin with their two young sons.

Scottish Parliament

Lochhead was elected to the Scottish Parliament at the 1999 election and re-elected at the 2003 election for the North East Scotland Region. In January 2006 he was selected as the SNP candidate for Moray for the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, following the announcement that Margaret Ewing MSP would be retiring. He beat Margaret Ewing's sister-in-law, former MP Annabelle Ewing in the selection.[1] Ewing's premature death triggered a by-election and Lochhead resigned his additional member seat in April 2006 in order to successfully contest the Moray by-election. He was elected on 28 April 2006.[2] This was the first time since the second world war that an incumbent party had retained a by-election seat without losing votes or having their majority or share of the vote lowered.

He is a former convener of the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament. In opposition he held the SNP's portfolios on Environment, Energy, Fishing and Rural Affairs in the Scottish Parliament.

After the SNP's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, it was announced on 16 May 2007 that Lochhead would be the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, taking up the position the following day.[3] The junior Ministerial position of Minister for the Environment was initially given to Michael Russell (currently held by Aileen McLeod). In May 2007, Lochhead started his tenure with promises to "relentlessly" pursue the Scottish fishing interests on behalf of fishermen and their communities.[4]

Lochhead was re-elected at the 2011 election with a further increased majority of 10,944. He announced his resignation as Environment Secretary, effective on 18 May 2016, as Nicola Sturgeon put together her reshuffle to appoint the second Sturgeon government.


  1. "Salmond closer to Holyrood return". BBC News. BBC. 4 January 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2006.
  2. "SNP's joy at by-election victory". BBC News. BBC. 28 April 2006.
  3. "Salmond announces his new cabinet". BBC News. BBC. 16 May 2007.
  4. "SNP to trawl for thoughts of fishermen". The Scotsman. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for North East Scotland
Succeeded by
Maureen Watt
Preceded by
Margaret Ewing
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Moray
Political offices
Preceded by
Ross Finnie (as Minister for the Environment and Rural Development)
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment
Succeeded by
Roseanna Cunningham
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