Scotland politics

Alister Jack: What do we know about the new Scottish Secretary?

Alister Jack Commons

Alister Jack is the new Scottish Secretary, taking over the job after David Mundell was sacked by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. What do we know about the Dumfries and Galloway MP?

Alister Jack is a relative newcomer to Westminster, having been first elected in the 2017 snap election.

He represents his local seat, having been born in Dumfries in 1963. He was raised in Dalbeattie and Kippford, and went to the independent boarding school Glenalmond College in Perthshire.

A successful businessman, he founded a series of self-storage companies which he sold in deals said to be worth tens of millions of pounds.

He also runs a large dairy farm near his home in Dumfries, and grows Christmas trees.

Mr Jack has been part of the Scottish Conservative Party for decades, having acted as its industry and economy spokesman from 1996.

In 1997 he contested the Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale seat for the Tories. He came third behind another future Scottish Secretary, Lib Dem Michael Moore, but went on to become vice-chairman of the Scottish party anyway.

He finally made it into parliament 20 years later, taking the Dumfries and Galloway seat from the SNP's Richard Arkless in 2017. He won with a majority of 10.9%, one of a dozen new Scottish Conservative MPs to be elected that year.

He said he was "proud" to have been chosen to represent his local area, which he said "captures the hearts of all who live there and all who visit".

Image copyright Oliver Mundell
Image caption Alister Jack took his hometown seat from the SNP in 2017

Mr Jack quickly rose through the internal Tory ranks during his first two years at Westminster, first acting as an aide to the Leader of the House of Lords and then rising through the whips office to become Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.

He voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, and said the UK had "a unique opportunity to create a bright future for our country as an independent free trading nation".

As a whip he did not make many public statements on Brexit - or indeed who he was backing in the leadership contest.

However he voted for Theresa May's deal after seeking assurances from the then-prime minister over its implications for the integrity of the UK union, saying it was "time to get on and make it happen".

Outside of politics, he is married and has three grown-up children.

He is a Deputy Lieutenant for Dumfries, and a member of the Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's official bodyguard unit in Scotland.

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