Meet Lib Dem candidates for the Scottish Parliament in 2021

Here is the current list of candidates so far selected for the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021. At the time of writing, they were 23 male and 17 female in the constituencies and 22 male and 17 female on the lists. This is a slight improvement from 2016 but we still need to get to 50/50.  There are also concerns that we need to work on all diversity strands.

Regional lists

North East Scotland

1. Rosemary Bruce

2. John Waddell


1. Alex Cole-Hamilton

2. Fred Mackintosh


1. Carole Ford

2. Andrew Chamberlain

Highlands and Islands

1. Alan Reid

2. Molly Nolan

Mid Scotland and Fife

1. Willie Rennie

2. Peter Barrett

Central Scotland

1. Paul McGarry

2. Mark McGeever

South Scotland

1. Catriona Bhatia

2. Jenny Marr

West Scotland

1. Katy Gordon

2. Jacci Stoyle


Constituency seats

Aberdeen Donside, Isobel Davidson

Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Ian Yuill

Aberdeenshire East, Conrad Wood

Aberdeenshire West, John Waddell

Almond Valley, Caron Lindsay

Argyll and Bute, Alan Reid

Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Alison Simpson

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Molly Nolan

Clydebank and Milngavie, Katy Gordon

Dumfriesshire, Richard Brodie

Dundee City East, Michael Crichton

Dundee City West, Daniel Coleman

Dunfermline, Aude Boubaker-Calder

East Kilbride, Paul McGarry

East Lothian, Euan Davidson

Edinburgh Central, Bruce Wilson

Edinburgh Eastern, Jill Reilly

Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Rebecca Bell

Edinburgh Southern, Fred Mackintosh

Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole Hamilton

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, Jenny Marr

Glasgow Kelvin, Nicholas Moohan

Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Andrew Chamberlain

Glasgow Pollok, James Speirs

Glasgow Southside, Carole Ford

Greenock and Inverclyde, Jacci Stoyle

Linlithgow, Sally Pattle

Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Jane Ann Liston

Midlothian South and Tweeddale, Adrian May

North East Fife, Willie Rennie

Orkney, Liam McArthur

Paisley, Jack Clark

Perthshire North, Peter Barrett

Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Julia Brown

Renfrewshire North and West, Ross Stalker

Rutherglen, Sheila Thomson

Shetland, Beatrice Wishart

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Denis Rixson

Stirling, Fayzan Rehman

Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Susan Murray

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Graham Jeffs 14th Nov '20 - 4:59pm

    Surely what we want are the very best people being selected as candidates – based on their ability and (maybe) their attractiveness to the electorate.

    This isn’t a percentages game. If we ended up with 70% female candidates because they were deemed the best, so be it. If we ended up with 70% male candidates because they were deemed the best, so be it. I have absolutely no interest in a candidates sex, ethnicity or anything else – providing they are the best!!

  • Graham Jeffs makes a strong point.

    Does the desire for 50/50 inclusion only stretch as far as gender ? What’s the percentage of BAME candidates ?

  • Tony Greaves 14th Nov '20 - 11:04pm

    What a shame that you start by criticising the balance before the elections are even called. How about welcoming the fact that the gender balance is within the reasonable 40-60 range? Will the other parties all match that? As for every other diversity that might be thought to be important, that’s a matter of recruiting activists! (Just out of interest how many Gaelic speakers are the in the lists?)

  • Much more important than their physical characteristics is how interested and committed are these Scottish Liberal Democrat candidates to the Alston Report on Inequality in the UK. I’ve not seen much interest in it so far despite a number of efforts made directly with existing elected members to do so…. but do please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Here’s an interesting and sobering item on which to do a google search :

    “Scotland is sailing off into very different waters from the … › inside-politics › view,scotland-is-…
    20 Dec 2019 — Professor Alston on welfare policy, technology and his investigation into UK poverty. … When the UK Government first reacted to his report on the extent of UK … by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in 2010, the report traced the … policy in driving or reducing inequality.

  • John Barrett 15th Nov '20 - 12:26pm

    Graham Jeffs – I entirely agree.

    Chris Cory makes a very valid point too. I suspect that if we did look into the social class, very few of our candidates and maybe members would would fall into what used to be called “working class” or what was described as social class D or E.

    I suspect that while many movers and shakers in the party concentrate on the gender and ethnicity of candidates, they do not see the problem with the much larger issue of lack of representation or membership from the other social classes society.

    Going back to the lists above.

    As someone who does not support All Women Short-Lists, it must be obvious to those who do, that having sitting MSPs leading the lists in their own region, as an insurance policy to get re-elected, flies in the face of any real commitment to gender balance instead of putting a woman at the top of those same lists to ensure if the MSPs hold their seats, and there is enough support to get a list MSP in the same region, that it will result in a woman being elected.

  • John Barrett 15th Nov '20 - 12:33pm

    Or even a woman at number two on those lists, in Lothian and Mid-Scotland, should the sitting MSP hold their seat, the number two on each list is not female.

    If there is a genuine commitment to gender balance, why is this happening?

  • I appreciate the points made on gender. We are – overall – doing very well on gender and the gender balance task force is to be thanked for their work. From memory we had more female Lib Dem MEPs elected in 2019 than male. And our Westminster parliamentary party is 7 women to 4 men.

    I think we need (as I get older!) to look at age. I think that that we have always been quite good at having young MPs and often a Lib Dem has been the “baby of the House”. I think we can be less good at older people. A 76 year-old has just become President of the US. And literally 80 is the new 60 with the increase in people’s life expectancy. The issue is that if you don’t select and elect people of a certain category then that category gets ignored when laws and policy are enacted. And that is not good.

    Equally as I have written before I have known local parties where young people were somewhat frowned upon as council candidates.

    We have been very poor at BAME candidates – even at the councillor level. And it was quite noticeable that when we had defectors last year it considerably improved a virtually all white parliamentary party.

    I know that the local party that I was involved with was poor at selecting BAME candidates for the council. And we had a small-ish but larger than many areas BAME population. And Labour and the Tories were as bad as us. And there is a tendency to have friends and find it easier to work with people who share one’s own demographic characteristics that we need to encourage local parties to be aware of and try and work to improve.

  • @John Barrett

    I think the point about social class is very well made. It affects all parties in that their memberships – even of Labour tend to be ABC1.

    It has been mooted here that there should be a “Blue Collar Lib Dem” group and if it hasn’t been put into effect it needs to be done very quickly. We had prior 2010 some considerable success at a local level in urban areas such as Hull, Manchester, Liverpool. It was inevitable that going into coalition with the Tories would make that difficult to continue. But I wonder if part of the problem was not that it was middle class people doing things to working class populations rather than getting genuine representation from the populations they were representing.

    How many of our councillors – let alone our MPs are from council or social housing? The group I was a member of had 1 councillor who lived in council housing – and one whose mother did – which wasn’t great but it was at least 1 more than any of the other groups.

    On gender I don’t see you or anyone here moaning that our Westminster Parliamentary Party is 2/3rds from one gender. And it is probably right that they don’t because for too long women have been underrepresented in our Parliamentary Party. But even so…..

  • John Barrett 15th Nov '20 - 3:40pm

    Michael 1 – “I don’t see you or anyone here moaning that our Westminster Parliamentary Party is 2/3rds from one gender”.

    The reason is that I have absolutely no problem with it, and think that a determination to hit 50/50 for gender in our Parliamentary group makes no sense at all, or to have quotas for anyone else because of their colour, religion, race, sexuality, disability etc. as long as there is no discrimination against any group or groups.

    My old Council group happened to be 50% men and 50% women (but nobody at all who could be describes as working class and nobody saw any discrimination against that group) and the majority of women in the group, who were all able and capable and had been elected, chose not to stand for election to Parliament. Not because of any discrimination, but because they wanted to continue with a range of chosen careers, as well as being elected. In that case many people still assumed that they did not stand because, as women, they were being discriminated against.

    Some people will see discrimination even when it does not exist and do not see it when it does.

  • It is interesting to note that this debate is entirely made up of those long standing Lib Dems who actually do worry about Liberal Democracy and the not so liberal places some people are still trying to take it. The way some self styled Progressives have attached themselves to the word liberal and used it to promote their blinkered view of injustice has helped to alienate and ultimately cement many reasonable voters into the deceit and self harm that led to the success of Trump and Brexit.

    One other factor I am worried about is the way that the article has skewed debate onto this one aspect. While I agree with the comments almost entirely, the fundamental problem is not a lack of women candidates, but a lack of candidates – full stop.

    A quick analysis of the stats shows that, the most important thing by far for the Liberal Democrats is that with barely six months to go to polling day the Scottish Lib Dems apparently only have candidates for 40 constituencies out of 73.

    That is a symptom of a much more significant problem.

  • @John Barrett

    Apologies if I (slightly?) misread your comment. But you do seem to be complaining that number 2 on the lists is not female where we have a male number 1. But from what you are saying we are in agreement that sometimes parliamentary groups will end up with more of one gender than another by happenstance.

    I think we agree with not having BAME and working class councillors and candidates we need to be careful of having unconscious racism and classism (!?). As one tends to come in to contact with people of similar background. And I think we are in agreement that it is easy to concentrate on one characteristic such as gender and not another such as class.

    I would counsel a little caution on why women in your group didn’t go on and stand for parliament. And it may have been for the reasons stated. There is still a lot to be done to make standing for Parliament more female friendly and family friendly and family responsibilities still weigh more heavily on women. And women and other groups may need more encouragement than the “male pale stale”.

    Having said that being an MP and perhaps even more a candidate is the ultimate self starter position with essentially no immediate boss and no job description and you have to overcome a lot of hurdles. But the gender balance task force does seem to have done good work supporting and training women. We do need to look whether we need to do more for other categories of people.

  • John Barrett 17th Nov '20 - 12:06am

    Michael 1 – Maybe I should have made my concerns clearer. I think that All women Shortlists and other similar attempts to achieve quotas, particularly at a time when winning any seats is a challenge, is a mistake. The reason I mention that the second on the list in both cases of Lothian and Fife is a man is not because I think it should be a woman, but if the party leadership in Scotland is saying that, and it has implemented AWS for elsewhere, like Westminster, just how can they defend this double standard in Scotland. I fear that the answer is obvious.

    There is no reason to counsel any caution as to why those women did not wish to stand. I was at that time Chair of the Council Group and Chair of the Regional Organisation whose task it was to ensure quality candidates and I sat down with those women to discuss the issue. With one exception, it was a positive choice by the elected female Councillors not to stand at Parliamentary level.

    Interestingly, the one who later stood and got elected to the Scottish Parliament, Margaret Smith, was the only one with young children. Yet many assumed that the childcare issue what was what stopped some of the others from standing, when it was only Margaret who was affected by the issue.

  • Now you have Boris Johnson electioneering for the SNP…His “Devolution ‘a disaster north of the border”, must be worth any number of SNP political broadcasts..

    The new song for their election might well be “What a friend we have in Johnson” sung to the tune of “What a friend we have in Jesus”..

  • Mike Rumbles not standing again in North East Scotland…… although his behaviour in the Chamber today left much to be desired ? Is he off to Italy again ?

  • @John Barrett

    Sorry I think I have got it finally! – which was not I venture initially clear or else I am thick – that you were attacking the double standards of AWS for Westminster and not similar or the Scottish Parliament.

    Again if you were encouraging women to stand for Parliament that is excellent. And I suspect few in the party sadly do what you did – and of course this should be extended to men and to others who are not councillors but may be activists or activists in the community etc.

    We do though need to think of all the barriers that stop someone from standing and for women in particular that can be systemic and it can be initially not clear. Westminster Parliament is still a challenge for those with families – men and women – but perhaps particularly women who perhaps bear more family responsibility and perhaps (to be sexist!) are more concerned about the family generally. And of course quite a lot of that lies outside the Lib Dems immediate responsibility on how Parliament is organised etc.

    We also need to think how we discriminate on other grounds and I think you made a very valid point that the concentration can be too much on gender. But on age (young and old), class, sexuality etc. And we are missing out on many good candidates, councillors and MPs because they don’t make it through the first barriers.

    I felt intimidated when I went to my first branch meeting and if I hadn’t be quite committed politically wouldn’t have gone to my second – and many wouldn’t have.

    Many will get involved in the Lib Dems because their friends and family etc. are and that can mean that whole swathes of the population never consider it because of their social circles and we need to reach out. And we also tend to consider people not just as deliverer fodder – and a young mum or dad may not have time or indeed inclination i they are running around after young children to deliver leaflets but might have quite a lot to say about the about the school, the local playground and may be involved in the local PTA etc. And we don’t get beyond “do you want to deliver Focus”, “no”, and thinking they are not interested at all or don’t have considerable skills to offer.

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