Ken Macintosh
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Ken Macintosh

Ken Macintosh

Macintosh in 2011
5th Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

12 May 2016
Tricia Marwick
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for West Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)

5 May 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Eastwood

6 May 1999 - 5 May 2016
Constituency established
Jackson Carlaw
Personal details
Kenneth Donald Macintosh

(1962-01-15) 15 January 1962 (age 58)
Inverness, Scotland
Political partyIndependent (since 2016)[n 1]
Other political
Scottish Labour Co-operative (until 2016)
ChildrenFour daughters, two sons
ResidenceBusby, East Renfrewshire
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
OccupationTelevision journalist, producer (1987-1999)

Kenneth Donald "Ken" Macintosh (born 15 January 1962) is a Scottish politician serving as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the West Scotland region since 2016.

Between 1987 and 1999, Macintosh was employed as a television producer for the BBC, working on its news broadcasts and election coverage. He was first elected in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election as a Scottish Labour Co-operative Party candidate, and retained his seat of Eastwood in the 2003, 2007 and the 2011 elections, but lost it in the 2016 election. In that election, he was returned on the regional list.

Early life and career

Born in Inverness, Macintosh was educated at the Portree and Oban primary schools before attending the state comprehensive Royal High School, Edinburgh. Both his parents were headteachers. His father, Dr Farquhar Macintosh CBE, was a Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Skye, a leading intellectual in Scottish education, rector of Royal High School and chair of the Scottish Examination Board.[1][2] His mother, Margaret Macintosh, came from Peebles and was head of Drummond Community High and assistant head of Wester Hailes Education Centre.[]

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with an History MA (Hons) in 1984, Macintosh became a television producer in 1987 for the BBC News Network.[3] He also worked on Breakfast with Frost, Breakfast News, and the Nine O'Clock News. He was also worked as a researcher on election programmes for both David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby.[4]

Political career

Official parliamentary portrait, 2011

At the 1999 Scottish Parliament election, Macintosh won the Eastwood constituency with a majority of 2,125 votes.[5]

In February 2002, Macintosh was appointed as a ministerial parliamentary aide to Minister for Education and Young People, Cathy Jamieson.[6] He resigned from this role in September 2002 when he voted against the Labour-Liberal Democrat Coalition Scottish Executive over the closure of the A&E department at the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary.[7]

Macintosh became Deputy Convenor on the Standards Committee but had to resign from this position in 2005 after it was revealed he had failed to declare £330 of hospitality from McDonald's within the required time.[8]

In 2006 and 2007 Macintosh has proposed a Member's Bill to the Scottish Parliament providing for the tougher regulation of sunbed parlours, which passed successfully.[9] Since his election in 1999 has been a member of the cross-party group on cancer.[10] From February 2007 to April 2007, he was a ministerial parliamentary aide to First Minister Jack McConnell.[11]

Macintosh was re-elected as MSP for Eastwood at the 2007 election with a narrow majority of 913, where he fought off a strong challenge from the Conservative Party's Jackson Carlaw.[12] After the election, Macintosh was appointed Shadow Minister for Schools and Skills. He considered running for the 2008 Scottish Labour leadership election but pulled out and instead backed Andy Kerr's candidacy.[13]

At the 2011 parliamentary election he once again defeated Jackson Carlaw with an increased majority of 2,012. The swing was 8.7% from Conservative to Labour.[14] Macintosh had feared losing the constituency following boundary changes[15] (with the removal of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor) which gave a notional Conservative majority of almost 3,500.[16] After the party's loss to the SNP, Macintosh was made Shadow Culture and External Affairs Secretary.[17] Only a week later, however, he took over the Shadow Education portfolio after MSP Malcolm Chisholm resigned over an internal party disagreement.[18]

Macintosh announced his candidacy in 2011 Scottish Labour leadership election. During a September 2011 BBC Scotland TV interview, Labour leader Ed Miliband was unable to recall Macintosh's name.[19] After the interview, Miliband telephoned to apologise for his mistake and Macintosh tried to downplay the incident saying "I don't think anyone should read anything into it - half the time I can't even remember the names of my own kids."[20] Macintosh officially launched his campaign at Cumbernauld College on 28 October. He described the 2011 election result as a "disaster" and said the party had been too negative: "We need to unite as a party and to start talking positively about our values, what Labour stands for and not just what we are against."[21][22] He later also said he was a devolutionist, not a unionist.[23][24] Despite lacking ministerial experience, he was widely seen as a frontrunner.[25] Colleagues who endorsed his bid included his campaign manager Michael McMahon, Claire Baker, Mary Fee, Neil Bibby, Mark Griffin, Kezia Dugdale, Jenny Marra and East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy, with whom Macintosh shared his constituency office in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire.[26][27] In the ensuing leadership election, Macintosh came second to MSP Johann Lamont.[28]

Following Scottish Labour's near wipeout at the 2015 general election, Macintosh decided to stand in the 2015 Scottish Labour Party leadership election, triggered by the resignation of Jim Murphy.[29] Macintosh faced a straight two-way contest with previous deputy leader Kezia Dugdale,[30] who won the leadership.[31]

At the 2016 election, Macintosh was pushed into third place behind Carlaw and the SNP's Stewart Maxwell. However, he was returned as an additional member on Scottish Labour's West Scotland regional list.[32]

On 12 May 2016, Ken Macintosh was elected presiding officer with 71 votes on the third round of voting. He beat Murdo Fraser, Johann Lamont, John Scott and Elaine Smith. He suspended his Labour membership upon taking office, per the tradition that the Presiding Officer is strictly nonpartisan.

In early November 2018, Macintosh created controversy when an MSP was sent out of Holyrood's chamber for wearing a rainbow tie in support of LGBTI rights. Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat, was told to change the garment by Macintosh because it flouted rules against "ostentatious campaign material".

Personal life

He and his wife Claire live in Busby, East Renfrewshire with their six children.[33]


  1. ^ Party membership suspended while Presiding Officer


  1. ^ "Dr Farquhar Macintosh".
  2. ^ "Farquhar Macintosh: Influential figure in Scottish education". The Independent. London. 27 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Labour front bench at-a-glance". BBC News. 14 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Interview: Ken Macintosh". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "New parliament, new Labour, new baby". BBC News. 28 June 1999.
  6. ^ "Ken Macintosh - MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 21 February 2013. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ Aide quits over hospital vote, BBC News, 12 September 2002
  8. ^ 'Standards' MSP resigns over gift, BBC News, 7 June 2005
  9. ^ Sunbed bill 'backed by most MSPs', BBC News 27 December 2006
  10. ^ "Ken Macintosh - MSPs : Scottish Parliament". Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "Ken Macintosh - MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 21 February 2013. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Turner out as Labour wins seats". BBC News. 4 May 2007.
  13. ^ "Gray bids for labour leadership". BBC News. 31 July 2008.
  14. ^ Brocklehurst, Steven; Kennedy, Doug (5 May 2011). "Scottish election: As it happened". BBC News.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Scottish election: Labour's 'class of '99' lose to SNP". BBC News. 6 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Scottish Labour unveils front bench team". BBC News. 20 May 2011.
  18. ^ "Malcolm Chisholm quits Labour's front bench team". BBC News. 31 May 2011.
  19. ^ "Ed Miliband unable to name all Scots leader candidates". BBC News. 29 September 2011.
  20. ^ MacDonell, Hamish (30 September 2011). "Ed Miliband forgets Scottish candidate's name". The Independent. London.
  21. ^ "Scottish Labour leader contenders put their cases". BBC News. 31 October 2011.
  22. ^ "Ken Macintosh launches Scottish Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 28 October 2011.
  23. ^ "Labour leadership contender rejects unionist label". BBC News. 25 September 2011.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ Reid, Tim (27 September 2011). "BBC News - Senior Labour figure makes Scots candidates warning". BBC News.
  26. ^ "'It's time to change' - Macintosh sets out stall for Labour Leadership". The Scotsman. 12 September 2011.
  27. ^ "MSPs : Scottish Parliament". 19 November 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "Johann Lamont named new Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. BBC. 17 December 2011. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  29. ^ Whitaker, Andrew (18 May 2015). "Ken Macintosh enters Scottish Labour leader race". The Scotsman.
  30. ^ "Five candidates put forward names for Scottish Labour leader posts". BBC News. 15 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Kezia Dugdale elected Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. 15 August 2015.
  32. ^ "Holyrood 2016: Former Scottish leader candidate Ken Macintosh loses seat". BBC News. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Tricia Marwick
Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Eastwood
Succeeded by
Jackson Carlaw
Preceded by
Constituency created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for West Scotland

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