Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

John Nicolson (politician)

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Preceded by  Jo Swinson
Role  Politician
Majority  2,167 (3.9%)
Education  University of Glasgow
Alma mater  University of Glasgow
Party  Scottish National Party
Name  John Nicolson

John Nicolson (politician) Now SNP claims Scotland should be able to veto EU result
Full Name  John MacKenzie Nicolson
Born  23 June 1961 (age 54) Glasgow, Scotland (1961-06-23)
Political party  Scottish National Party
Profession  Journalist; News Anchor; Television Presenter

John MacKenzie Nicolson (born 23 June 1961) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician and Scottish television presenter. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Dunbartonshire, elected in the 2015 general election on 7 May 2015. He was the SNP spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport in the House of Commons and a member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He lost his seat in the 2017 general election.


John Nicolson (politician) andrejkoymaskycomlivfambion1nicols02jpg

Andrew neil lets the snps bumbling john nicolson dig his own hole

Early life

Born in Glasgow, Nicolson was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School and at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1984 with an MA (Hons.) in English literature and Politics. He was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship for postgraduate study in the United States, and was Harkness Fellow in American Government at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.

As a student he won both the Observer Mace (now the John Smith Memorial Mace), and the World Universities Debating Championship at Princeton, New Jersey in the same year. He returned to the Glasgow University Union in 2012 to debate against other former World Universities' Championship winners.

During his year at Harvard, he was invited by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democrat, New York) to work as a speechwriter on Capitol Hill.


As a student, Nicolson appeared on BBC Scotland's Mr Speaker Sir. In 1987 he joined the BBC. His network broadcasting career began with the BBC youth DEF II programme Open to Question in 1988. In 1992 he made the documentary 'A Question of Consent' for BBC 'Public Eye'.

After moving to London he reported for a variety of BBC programmes including On the Record, Panorama, Assignment, The Late Show, and several live general election, European election, and budget programmes.

He was a reporter on Newsnight for three years, presented Watchdog Healthcheck on BBC1 and was one of the main studio presenters on the BBC's Breakfast News during the period that the show overtook its commercial rival GMTV for the first time. He was the studio presenter for the BBC on 11 September 2001 as the Twin Towers collapsed, anchoring live on BBC News 24 and BBC One – a broadcast which won the BBC production team a Foreign Press Association award for best breaking news coverage.


After more than ten years at the BBC, Nicolson moved to ITV News Channel where he presented Live with John Nicolson, a three-hour morning news magazine until 2005.

Other media work

Nicolson occasionally guest reported for a travel show called Holiday, presented his own radio show with Jane Moore on LBC 97.3 until 2003 and appeared as a panellist on Radio 4's long running comedy show The News Quiz. He appeared as himself in The Trial of Tony Blair in 2007. He has also contributed to the Cumulus Media Networks radio programme The John Batchelor Show.

He has written about architecture and design, as well as politics and travel.

Political career

Nicolson joined the Scottish National Party aged 16. He became an MP after winning election in the East Dunbartonshire constituency in the 2015 general election. He was a member of the National Collective, the cultural movement for Scottish independence during Scotland’s Referendum.

Following the referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, Nicolson has been campaigning for Scotland to remain in the single market.

Nicolson has visited Israel and the Palestine territories a number of times, recently with Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding. He has spoken about the need for justice and peace in the region.

In 2016, Nicolson put forward a proposal for an "Alan Turing law" which would retroactively pardon gay and bisexual men who had been convicted of offences under historical law which outlawed certain homosexual acts that are no longer crimes. He placed his proposal before Parliament as a Private Member's Bill. However, the government instead supported a cross-party amendment to the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which had been tabled by the Liberal Democrats on the same issue. Nicolson did not withdraw his bill as the amendment proposed a much narrower law which would pardon only the dead and not the living. The Turing Bill was filibustered by Conservative government Justice Minister Sam Gyimah.The Minister spoke for around 25 minutes on the Bill, continuing until the deadline for a vote on the proposals had passed. The amendment to the Policing and Crime Act 2017 was eventually adopted meaning that people who are living with such historic convictions will not receive pardons automatically.

Nicolson was appointed Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport shortly after his election in 2015. He sat on the Culture, Media and Sport committee in Westminster. He used this platform to talk about homophobia in sport, particularly in football.

Nicolson campaigned for a news hour from a Scottish perspective. The BBC decided against a Scottish news broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 6 o'clock. Instead they announced a separate Scottish channel, with a 9 o'clock news programme. During his tenure, Nicolson consistently opposed the privatisation of Channel 4, and ensured the government's decision making process was transparent regarding public broadcasters.

As a member of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, Nicolson engaged in several well known campaigns. These include: the parliamentary inquiry into "fake news", the abuse of ticket sales by touts, dealing with complaints against the press, combating doping in sport, and the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market.

Personal life

In 1999, when he was a presenter on BBC Breakfast, Nicolson came out in various publications as gay. He has said that the decision was prompted after he was wrongly credited with having a long-term girlfriend in a newspaper interview, and was fed up with viewers believing him to be straight.

He has discussed in more detail his decision to come out, "I’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve told me subsequently that when I came out in the papers they told their parents. Gay kids should have role models. They should know that being gay doesn’t stop you doing anything as an adult."


John Nicolson (politician) Wikipedia