Keith Brown

Official portrait, 2021
Depute Leader of the
Scottish National Party
Assumed office
8 June 2018
LeaderNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byAngus Robertson
Cabinet Secretary for Justice
Assumed office
20 May 2021
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byHumza Yousaf
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work
In office
18 May 2016 – 26 June 2018
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byJohn Swinney (Economy)
Succeeded byDerek Mackay (Finance, Economy and Fair Work)
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities
In office
21 November 2014 – 18 May 2016
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byNicola Sturgeon
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister for the Department for Transport
In office
11 December 2010 – 21 November 2014
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Preceded byStewart Stevenson
Succeeded byDerek Mackay
Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning
In office
12 February 2009 – 12 December 2010
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Preceded byMaureen Watt
Succeeded byAngela Constance
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane
Ochil (2007–11)
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded byGeorge Reid
Personal details
Born (1961-12-20) 20 December 1961 (age 59)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materUniversity of Dundee
OccupationCommando, Local government official
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceRoyal Marines
Years of service1980–83
Battles/warsFalklands War

Keith James Brown (born 20 December 1961) is a Scottish politician serving as Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since 2018 and Cabinet Secretary for Justice since May 2021. He is a former Royal Marines commando and served as Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work from May 2016 to June 2018. Brown has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) since 2007, first representing the Ochil constituency 2007–2011, then the Clackmannanshire and Dunblane constituency since 2011.

Early career

Born in Edinburgh, Brown attended Tynecastle High School in the city, before joining the Royal Marines and serving in the Falklands War.[1] Upon leaving the Marines he attended the University of Dundee where he joined the SNP, graduating in Politics in 1988.[2] During his time at the University of Dundee, he studied abroad at the University of Prince Edward Island between 1985–1986.[3] He then went to work in local government administration in Stirling and was also an active trade union representative with UNISON.[3]

He was the SNP candidate for the European Parliament for Lothians constituency in 1994, coming second with 53,324 votes.[4] Brown was then elected to represent Alva on Clackmannanshire Council in a by-election in 1996.[5] He became group leader in 1997, and then Leader of the Council after the SNP took control of Clackmannanshire in the 2003 elections.[2]


Brown was elected to the Scottish Parliament by Ochil constituency at the 2007 elections, increasing both absolute SNP vote and majority.[6]

He was appointed to be Convener of both the Parliament's Standards & Public Appointments Committee and Procedures Committee, and after overseeing their merger now convenes the new Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee.[7]

In his maiden speech on the abolition of bridge tolls he declared that he still had an outstanding fine from the Skye Bridge protests of 1994.[8] He has been an opponent of the proposals for an overhead electricity line from Beauly to Denny, arguing for an underground alternative.[9] Brown has also been campaigning for Scotland football matches to be available on terrestrial television.[10]

On 12 February 2009, Brown was appointed Minister for Schools and Skills. On 8 December 2009, Brown became Minister for Schools and Skills In the first reshuffle of the SNP Government.[11] In December 2010, he was appointed as Minister for Transport and Infrastructure in the Scottish government.[12]

Brown won re-election to the Scottish Parliament in 2011, representing the newly created Clackmannanshire and Dunblane. On 19 May 2011, Brown was named as the Minister for Housing and Transport. On 5 September 2012, he became Minister for Transport and Veterans.

SNP Depute leadership bid, 2014

Further information: Scottish National Party leadership election, 2014

Following defeat in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Scottish National Party leader and First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond announced his resignation as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland.[13] In the aftermath of his resignation, a leadership bid was launched, with Deputy First Minister of Scotland and SNP Depute leader Nicola Sturgeon widely tipped to become Salmond's successor.[14][15]

On 25 September 2014, Brown officially launched his bid to become the Depute leader of the Scottish National Party, with the backing of several SNP MSPs, as well as several Scottish Government ministers.[16][17] The results of the election were announced at the SNP Autumn Conference on the 14 November, with Brown losing the contest to Stewart Hosie, with 45.5% of the vote in the second round to Hosie's 55.5%.[18]


On 21 November 2014, he was promoted to Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in Nicola Sturgeon's first reshuffle.[19] Brown was re-elected to the Clackmannanshire and Dunblane constituency in 2016. On 18 May he became the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work while still maintaining responsibility for veterans affairs.[20] In December 2016, Brown led calls for Amazon to pay its employees the living wage after reports surfaced concerning the conditions of workers in the company's Dunfermline depot,[21] holding talks with Amazon several days later in which he was told Amazon would "consider" paying the living wage.[22][23] In July 2017, Brown wrote to UK ministers on the need to continue legal protected status for the definition of Scotch whisky post-Brexit amid fears that in a future trade deal the USA “would support a relaxation of the definition of whisky, which would open the market up to a number of products which do not currently meet that standard.”[24][25][26] Later on in 2017 he visited the US and Canada in a series of speaking engagements to promote economic ties between North American business communities and Scotland.[27][28]

He returned to the Cabinet in May 2021 as Cabinet Secretary for Justice.[29]

Depute leader of the Scottish National Party

On 8 June 2018, Keith Brown became the depute leader of the Scottish National Party, having contested and won the 2018 Scottish National Party depute leadership election with 55% of votes in the second round.[30] At his acceptance speech at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Brown told fellow SNP members to prepare for a second Scottish independence referendum.[31][32][33] Brown also announced that he would chair three national assemblies to debate the SNP's 2018 Growth Commission report on an independent Scotland's economic prospects.[31][34][35]

Although Brown was elected Depute Leader of the SNP, John Swinney remained as Sturgeon's Deputy First Minister despite Brown being a member of the Scottish Parliament. In the June 2018 reshuffle of the Scottish Government, Brown stood down as Economy Secretary to focus on his role as depute leader, He was replaced by Derek Mackay. He was subsequently given a role as the SNP's Campaign Manager.

See also


  1. ^ "New minister Keith Brown has bridge toll conviction". BBC News. BBC. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Personal Information". 5 June 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Alba Money – Financial news and budgeting advice". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Alba Money – Financial news and budgeting advice". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  6. ^ "BBC NEWS, Scottish elections 2007, Ochil". BBC News.
  7. ^ "The Scottish Parliament: – Committees – Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments". Archived from the original on 1 January 2008.
  8. ^ "The Courier: Taking you to the heart of Tayside and Fife". Archived from the original on 2 December 2008.
  9. ^ " News". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  10. ^ "Show Scotland Games On Main TV Says MSP". dailyrecord. 9 January 2008.
  11. ^ "Cabinet and ministers at-a-glance". BBC News. 8 December 2009.
  12. ^ "Keith Brown named new Scottish transport minister". BBC News. 12 December 2010.
  13. ^ Carrell, Severin; Wintour, Patrick; Mason, Rowena (19 September 2014). "Alex Salmond resigns as first minister after Scotland rejects independence" – via
  14. ^ "Scottish referendum: Nicola Sturgeon edges closer to SNP leadership". The Independent. 21 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Scottish ministers 'back Sturgeon'". BBC News. 21 September 2014 – via
  16. ^ "Transport Minister Keith Brown and Dundee MP Stewart Hosie launch rival bids for SNP Deputy Leadership". dailyrecord. 25 September 2014.
  17. ^ "SNP minister Yousaf supports Keith Brown deputy leadership bid". STV News. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Stewart Hosie elected deputy leader of the SNP". BBC News. 14 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon announces new Scottish cabinet". BBC News. 21 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Who is in the 2016 Scottish cabinet?". BBC News. 18 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Minister seeks meeting over Amazon claims". BBC News. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Amazon conditions talks 'productive'". BBC News. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  23. ^ Cameron, Lucinda (19 December 2016). "Minister demands Amazon pays real living wage to staff". dailyrecord. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Scotland calls for UK legal protection of Scotch whisky post-Brexit". The Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  25. ^ Barber, Lynsey (30 July 2017). "Scots call for Scotch guards in Brexit negotiations". Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  26. ^ McCulloch, Scott (31 July 2017). "Calls for Scotch whisky to be protected by UK government after Brexit". businessInsider. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Scotland is 'open for business' – Keith Brown". Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Scottish minister to tour Canada and US". BBC News. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon appoints new health and education secretaries". BBC News. 19 May 2021. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021.
  30. ^ SNP conference: Keith Brown elected deputy leader. BBC NEWS. Published 8 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Indyref2 ahead vows Keith Brown after elected SNP Depute Leader". Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  32. ^ "IndyRef2 will 'undoubtedly' happen, says new SNP depute leader Keith Brown". iNews. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  33. ^ "'Get ready for a second vote': New SNP depute's message to Scottish independence supporters". Evening Times. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  34. ^ "New SNP depute leader Keith Brown promises a national debate on the Growth Commission at #SNP18". CommonSpace. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  35. ^ "SNP elects Keith Brown as new Depute Leader". Evening Times. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
George Reid
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Ochil
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane
Political offices
Preceded by
Maureen Watt
Minister for Schools and Skills
Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning

Succeeded by
Angela Constance
Preceded by
Stewart Stevenson
Minister for Transport and Veterans
Succeeded by
Derek Mackay
Preceded by
Nicola Sturgeon
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities
Office abolished
Preceded by
Humza Yousaf
Cabinet Secretary for Justice