10 things you need to know about John Swinney

John Swinney, the new leader of the SNP, is due to take office as Scotland’s seventh First Minister.

He is the longest serving Deputy First Minister in the history of UK devolution, and has served in a plethora of cabinet roles in the Scottish Government.

Here’s ten things you need to know about the man set to be Scotland’s next First Minister.

Getting to know John Swinney

  • John Swinney has been the constituency parliamentarian for the area of north Perthshire since 1997, being re-elected six times.
  • He was Cabinet Secretary for Finance from 2007 to 2016 when he delivered funding for a Council Tax freeze, free prescriptions and the most competitive small business rates in the UK.
  • He also delivered funding to abolish tuition fees in Scotland which led to Scotland having the largest percentage of working-age adults in Europe with a higher education. During his tenure as Cabinet Secretary for Education this percentage passed 50%.
  • As Cabinet Secretary for Finance he replaced Labour’s disastrously wasteful Private Finance Initiative (PFI) with the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) model which has helped deliver investment to build schools, hospitals and roads.
  • Previously he was SNP Leader from 2000 to 2004, as well as Deputy First Minister from 2014 to 2023.
  • John Swinney joined the SNP in 1979 at the age of 15 becoming the party’s National Secretary in 1986, at the age of 22.
  • Born in Edinburgh in 1964 he was educated at Forrester High School and Edinburgh University. Before being elected he worked for Scottish Amicable Life Assurance.
  • A father of three he is married to married Elizabeth Quigley, a reporter, who he lives with in Blairgowrie along with his son Matthew.
  • He is the nephew of Royal Marine Commando Tom Hunter, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in World War Two.
  • He’s a fan of The Jam and spends a lot of his free time running. He has completed a number of marathons to raise money for charity.