Stewart Stevenson

Stewart Stevenson
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Banffshire & Buchan Coast
Banff and Buchan 2001–2011
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Alex Salmond
Majority 6,583 (23.0%)
Minister for Environment
and Climate Change
In office
25 May 2011  6 September 2012
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Roseanna Cunningham
Succeeded by Paul Wheelhouse
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure
and Climate Change
In office
17 May 2007  11 December 2010
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Tavish Scott
(as Minister for Transport)
Succeeded by Keith Brown
(as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure)
Convenor of the SNP
Scottish Parliamentary Group
In office
7 May 2003  17 May 2007
Succeeded by Gil Paterson
Personal details
Born (1946-10-15) 15 October 1946
Edinburgh, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Sandra Pirie
Residence Banffshire, Scotland
Alma mater University of Aberdeen
University of Strathclyde
Profession Software Engineer
Committees Justice Committee
08 Jun 2016 - In Office
(Scottish Parliament)

Justice Sub-Committee on Policing
06 Oct 2016 - In Office
(Scottish Parliament)

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee
08 Jun 2016 - In Office
(Scottish Parliament)

Standing Orders & Agenda Committee

James Alexander Stewart Stevenson (known as Stewart Stevenson) (Gaelic: Seamus Alasdair Stiùbhart MacSteafain) (born 1946) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) since 2001.[1] He was the MSP for Banff and Buchan from 2001 to 2011, and after boundary changes he has been the MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast since 2011.

In the Scottish Government, he was Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change from May 2007 to December 2010, and Minister for Environment and Climate Change from May 2011 to September 2012.

Early life

Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. His father James Stevenson was a doctor and his mother Helen MacGregor was a teacher.[2] He was brought up in Cupar, Fife. He was educated at Bell Baxter High School then studied mathematics at the University of Aberdeen.[3] He worked in information technology with the Bank of Scotland for 30 years,[3] retiring in 1999 as Director of Technology Innovation.

Political career

In Opposition

Stevenson joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1961. He stood as an SNP candidate in the Linlithgow constituency in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election but was unsuccessful.[4]

In January 2001 Stevenson was adopted as the candidate for Banff and Buchan, ahead of the by-election on 7 June 2001 that was triggered by Alex Salmond's resignation from the seat to concentrate on Westminster politics.[5] Stevenson was elected with a majority of 8,500 votes over the Conservative candidate.[6]

He made his maiden speech on the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy, rising to his feet at 16:11 hrs on 14 June, 30 hours and 36 minutes after being sworn in.[7]

He was re-elected to the constituency in the 2003 elections.[8]

University Challenge

In 2004 he was a member of the Scottish Parliament team in the TV general knowledge programme, University Challenge – The Professionals. He and fellow team members Richard Baker (Labour), Robin Harper (Green), Jamie Stone (Lib Dem) who was captain, beat a Welsh Assembly team by 110 points to 75.[9][10] Both teams comfortably surpassed the record low score of 25 achieved by the House of Commons team in 2003[11]


In opposition he was Deputy Party Spokesperson on Health until September 2004, then becoming Deputy Party Spokesperson on Justice[12] with responsibility for Prisons and Drugs policy. He was Convenor of the SNP Group in the Scottish Parliament and Deputy Convenor of the Parliament's Justice 1 Committee.[13] In addition he ended Session 2 as a substitute member of the Parliament's Health Committee[14] and Deputy Convenor of the Parliament's Cross Party Group on Visual Impairment.


By the end of Parliament's second session on 2 April 2007 he had made 284 speeches in the Scottish Parliament and was thus the most prolific speaker since the Parliament's being re-convened in 1999. By the end of Session 3 in March 2011, he had made 406 speeches and retained the position of "most prolific parliamentary speaker". He reached his 500th speech[15] on the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill, on 7 November 2013.[16]

He can, arguably, hold the record for the longest speech in Parliament. He commenced a speech on International Suicide Prevention Week at 17:21 on Wednesday, 7 September 2004[17] and completed it at 17:12 on Thursday, 8 September 2004[18] nearly 24 hours later. However this was due to the failure of the Parliament's sound system just after he started to speak.

On 12 June 2015, he became the first Member of the Scottish Parliament to have made 600 speeches.[19]

In Government

In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election on 3 May, he was returned with a majority of 10,530, the largest in Scotland, over the Scottish Conservative Party candidate.[20] The SNP formed a minority government and on 17 May Stevenson was appointed the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change.[21] This appointment covered: the land use planning system, climate change, building standards, transport policy and delivery, public transport, road, rail services, canals, harbours, air and ferry services, Scottish Water.

As Minister, Stevenson piloted the SNP Government's first Bill, Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill.,[22] which received royal assent on 24 January 2008, becoming the Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Act 2008.[23] At the end of May the Scottish Executive approved the The Port of Cairnryan Harbour Empowerment Order 2007[24][25] and with this Stevenson became the first SNP Minister to sign a piece of legislation. He also brought forward the SNP's first Legislative Consent Motion, previously known as Sewel Motions, on the subject of the UK Climate Change Bill.[26] He was also the first SNP Minister to lose a vote in Parliament on the subject of the Edinburgh Trams project.[27]

As the Minister for Transport, he was involved with the progressing the legislation for the Forth Replacement Crossing, continuing a family association with Firth of Forth infrastructure projects.[28] His great uncle, Sir Alexander Stevenson, was Chairman of the Forth Road Bridge Campaign Committee in the 1930s;[29] the Forth Road Bridge opened in 1964.

In March 2009 Stevenson apologised for the use of an "intemperate word" in Parliament when he said the word "bollocks" in an off-mic remark in response to sedentary remarks by Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles on the relationship between Scottish ministers and officials at Transport Scotland.[30]

During the December 2010 snowfall on 6 December, Stevenson, on Newsnight Scotland, called the response to people being trapped on the main Scottish Motorway Network for more than 10 hours, as first class, and refused to apologise, claiming the amount of snow was un-forecast. The next day he apologised to motorists.[31] On 11 December Stevenson resigned from his ministerial position following criticism of his handling of the issue.[32]

2011 Scottish General Election

Under the re-drawn constituency boundaries, Stevenson was elected as the SNP member for the new seat of Banffshire and Buchan Coast, It contains approximately 85% of the electorate of Banff and Buchan and the remainder comes from the previous Moray seat's communities of Cullen, Findochty, Portknockie, Buckie, and from a part of the previous Gordon constituency comprising Rothiemay, Knock, Deskford, Grange. A substantial rural area with a small number of electors is also included.

The 16,812 votes cast for him was 67.24% of the total, the highest share of votes cast out of all the constituency elections for the Scottish Parliament in 2011,[33] however trailed the actual number of votes cast in other constituencies for MSPs such as Alex Salmond (19,533), John Swinney (18,219), Fiona Hyslop (17,027), Willie Coffey (16,964), Fergus Ewing (16,870) and Richard Lochhead (16,817).

Under the Second Salmond government Stevenson returned to a ministerial position, appointed as Minister for Environment and Climate Change on 20 May 2011.[34] His ministerial role ended with the re-shuffle announced on 5 September 2012, when he was replaced as Minister by Paul Wheelhouse MSP.[35]

2016 Scottish General Election

Stevenson was re-elected as member for Banffshire and Buchan Coast at the 2016 election.[36]


  1. "STEVENSON, (James Alexander) Stewart". Who's Who. Oxford University Press. December 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  2. "Births (CR). Scotland. 35 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, Midlothian. 15 October 1946. STEVENSON, James Alexander Stewart. 685/01 1243",
  3. 1 2 "Profile: Stewart Stevenson". BBC News. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  4. "Vote 99: Scotland Constituency and Regions. Linlithgow". BBC News. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  5. "Salmond defends Westminster move". BBC News. 15 January 2001.
  6. "Holyrood by-elections resolved". BBC News. 8 June 2001.
  7. Official Report (Session 1); c 1669, Scottish Parliament, 14 June 2001
  8. "Scottish Parliament election: constituency: Banff & Buchan". BBC News. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  9. "2004 Series University Challenge – The Professionals". Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  10. Scots win in 'Paxo' challenge, BBC News, 28 June 2004
  11. "2003 Series University Challenge – The Professionals". 2003-09-08. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
  12. "MSPs: Previous MSPs: Session 2 (7 May 2003 - 02 April 2007): Stewart Stevenson". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  13. "The Scottish Parliament: – Committees – Justice 1 – Session 2". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  14. "The Scottish Parliament:-Committees-Health". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  15. List of Speeches, Stewart Stevenson MSP Web Site
  16. Official Report (Session 4); c 24231, Scottish Parliament, 7 November 2013
  17. Official Report (Session 2); c 9981, Scottish Parliament, 7 September 2004
  18. Official Report (Session 2); c 10121, Scottish Parliament, 8 September 2004
  19. Stevenson makes 600th Speech, 12 June 2015
  20. "Election results: Table 18: Constituency Seats by size of Majority" (PDF). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  21. "Parliament approves Scottish Ministers" (Press release). Scottish Government. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  22. "MSPs vote to scrap bridge tolls". BBC News. 20 December 2007.
  23. "Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill]". Scottish Parliament. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  24. "Major harbour plans get go-ahead". BBC News. 31 May 2007.
  25. The Port of Cairnryan Harbour Empowerment Order 2007, Scottish Parliament, 25 May 2007
  26. "Official Report. Plenary, 20 Dec 2007". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  27. "Climbdown after transport defeat". BBC News. 27 June 2007.
  28. "Forth bridge legislation unveiled". BBC News. 17 November 2009.
  29. "Forth Road Bridge. Scheme Supported at Boness. Sir A. Stevenson's Figure". The Scotsman. 28 February 1935. Retrieved 20 November 2016. (subscription required (help)).
  30. "Minister says sorry for swearing". BBC News. 12 March 2009.
  31. "Scottish Transport Minister apologises to motorists". BBC News. 7 December 2010.
  32. "Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson resigns". BBC News. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  33. "Stevenson sworn in as Banff & Buchan Coast MSP". STV News. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  34. "Salmond completes SNP majority government". BBC News. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  35. "Scottish cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  36. "Banffshire and Buchan Coast result". BBC News. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.

Social media

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Alex Salmond
Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan
2001 2011
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Banffshire and Buchan Coast
2011 present
Political offices
Preceded by
Roseanna Cunningham
Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Paul Wheelhouse
Preceded by
Tavish Scott
as Minister for Transport
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Keith Brown
as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure
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