|Minister for International Development and Europe|
18 May 2016 – 26 June 2018
|First Minister||Nicola Sturgeon|
|Preceded by||Humza Yousaf|
|Succeeded by||Ben Macpherson|
|Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages|
20 May 2011 – 18 May 2016
|First Minister||Alex Salmond|
|Preceded by||Angela Constance|
|Succeeded by||Shirley-Anne Somerville|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament |
for Na h-Eileanan an Iar
|Assumed office |
3 May 2007
|Preceded by||Alasdair Morrison|
|Born||6 May 1971|
|Political party||Scottish National Party|
|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
University of Glasgow
Alasdair James Allan (born 6 May 1971) is a Scottish politician serving as the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency since 2007. A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he served as a Scottish Government from 2011 to 2018, first as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages and then Minister for International Development and Europe.
Alasdair James Allan was born on 6 May 1971 in Ashkirk to Christine and John H. Allan. Allan graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA in Scottish Language and Literature, continuing his studies at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with a PhD in Scots language in 1998.
He devoted his time and employment to the Scottish National Party in Peterhead, working for Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, and he subsequently became assistant to Michael Russell. Previous to becoming an MSP, Alasdair was senior media relations officer for the Church of Scotland.
He is quadrilingual, and is able to speak: Scottish Gaelic, Norwegian, Scots and English.
Allan was the SNP candidate for Gordon at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. As National Secretary of the SNP, he was responsible in July 2004 for the expulsion of Campbell Martin from the party after Martin had claimed that there was a case for supporters of independence not voting SNP.
Allan was next in line to become a list MSP for North East Scotland when Richard Lochhead resigned to fight the Moray by-election, however he decided instead to devote himself to contesting Na h-Eileanan an Iar, a key Labour–SNP marginal seat in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. He relocated to Lewis and resigned his post as SNP National Secretary. This move proved successful, as he was elected with 46.6% of the vote – a 5.4% swing from Labour.
In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election Allan again stood for the SNP in the now renamed seat of Na h-Eileanan an Iar and increased his majority, returning to Holyrood with 65.3% of the vote, an increase of 18.7% and a swing of 15.8% from Labour.
As of July 2020, Allan is a member of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, the Education and Skills Committee and the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
He is a speaker and strong supporter of Scottish Gaelic and Scots and holds a PhD on the latter. He authored the booklet Talking Independence, which sought to answer questions about Scottish independence, ranging from "What will I pay in tax?" to "Will I still be able to visit relatives in England?" and "Will we still get EastEnders?".
Allan voted against same-sex marriage in Scotland, saying "the view which so many of my constituents have expressed to me has a right to be recorded" – in contrast to the position of the majority of the SNP government.
Allan wrote a book, Tweed Rins tae the Ocean (Tweed Runs to the Ocean), in response to claims made by former Conservative MP Rory Stewart that the Anglo-Scottish border was unnatural. Allan walked the Border and recorded his travels, similar to what Stewart did for his book The Marches.