Michael Russell is the Constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Argyll & Bute and Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, a post to which he was appointed by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon in August 2016. Elected for Argyll and Bute in May 2011 and re-seated in 2016, he was previously a Regional Member of the Scottish Parliament representing the South of Scotland, serving from 1999-2003 and from 2007-2011.
Brought up in Troon in Ayrshire and educated at Edinburgh University, he has lived in Argyll for over 20 years. Before entering the Scottish Parliament, he worked in a variety of media sectors including television, has been a national newspaper and magazine columnist, and has written seven books, including one novel. He continues to be active culturally, and has contributed a photograph every day for over six years to the Polaroid Blipfoto website. In 1980, whilst working in the Western Isles, he founded the Celtic Film and TV Festival, which subsequently became the Celtic Media Festival, which celebrated its 37th consecutive event in 2016.
From 1994 to 1999, he was Chief Executive of the Scottish National Party, having first been an SNP Candidate and Senior Office Bearer of the party in 1987. He ran Alex Salmond’s successful leadership campaign in 1990.
When the SNP entered Government in 2007 he became Minister for Environment, and was subsequently Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, before becoming Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in December 2009, a post he held until November 2014.
He is married with one son, and his wife works as a Primary Head Teacher in his constituency.