Alex Neil is currently a member of the Scottish Parliament for Airdrie & Shotts and Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing in the Scottish Government. He has been an MSP since 1999. He was elected at the 1999 parliamentary election at the head of the SNP list for the Central Scotland region, and has since been re-elected at the top of the SNP list in 2003 and 2007. He won the Airdrie & Shotts constituency in May 2011 with a 2001 majority.
Born in Patna, Ayrshire in 1951, he began political life as a member of the Labour Party. He joined the Labour Party at the age of 16 and became the head of their student wing whilst studying economics at Dundee University. Upon graduation he became the Labour Party’s Scottish researcher, until in 1976 he left Labour to help form the Scottish Labour Party.
After the 1979 general election he worked in America before returning to Scotland and forming his own economic consultancy business. In 1985 he joined the SNP and stood as their candidate in the 1989 Glasgow Central by-election, also rising to senior office within the party.
After election to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 he became SNP spokesperson for social justice before chairing the Parliament’s Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee from 2000-2003 and then again 2004 till 2007. From 2007 Alex was vice-Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee and member of the Finance Committee. He was also co-Convenor of the Cross-Party Group on the Scottish Economy and on the Council of Europe’s Local and Regional Authorities Association. In February 2009 Alex was appointed Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Communities. After the 2011 elections Alex was promoted to the Cabinet as Infrastructure & Capital Investment Secretary before moving to the health portfolio in September 2012.
Alex is married with one son, and lives in Ayr.
For further details please visit Alex's page on the Scottish Parliament website.