Mairi McAllan: Meet the SNP Holyrood candidate for Clydesdale


It is first and foremost about being a strong advocate for my community, which I care so much about. I’ve spent my life in Clydesdale, growing up, going to school locally and now choosing to make my life here.

And I’ve been lucky to have the chance to leave state school at 17 and go on to become a lawyer (something I owe, in no small part, to the SNP’s landmark free tuition policy). I’ve also been fortunate to gain a lot of experience in politics and government. I decided a long time ago I wanted to use that experience to do everything I can for my community and for Scotland. The opportunity to improve the lives and chances of my neighbours, to ensure fairness and progress in our society and economy and to deliver independence for Scotland, is what motivates me.

What was the first event or thing that got you into politics?

I have been politically aware for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. I remember watching the opening ceremony and feeling empowered – like something very wrong had begun to be corrected.

What’s your career experience beyond politics?

As a lawyer, I have varied experience – working in community firms helping folk through some of the most important and often difficult experiences of their lives as well as in big city firms where the hours are long and the pressure is high.

I’m also a co-founder of human rights organisation RebLaw Scotland. Our aim is to use law as a tool in the fight for social justice and we bring lawyers together with their communities to find solutions to problems such as child poverty, domestic abuse and homelessness.

In January, I was appointed as a special adviser to the First Minister working on environment, climate change, land reform and renewable energy policy. It’s an enormous honour to work every day for Nicola Sturgeon and for the people of Scotland on issues which are so fundamental to our future.

Why should the people of your constituency vote for you in May?

I am a lifelong local who understands the joys and challenges of living here. It’s that experience I’ll draw on – together with the skills I’ve gained as a lawyer, government adviser and human rights activist – to be the very best representative for Clydesdale.

If elected, I will work with constituents to ensure Clydesdale is a place where young people can make their lives and careers, where diverse and vibrant communities look after each other and thrive, where all our people have access to good education, warm, energy efficient homes, social security as needed and world-leading healthcare – free at the point of need.

If you’re elected, what do you hope to achieve?

I will help build a recovery from Covid-19 which is fair, inclusive, green and focused on the wellbeing of our people and planet. This year has been tough but amid the darkness and disruption we have a chance to piece our economy and society back together differently.

I will champion a green recovery where we capture the possibilities of our move to net-zero to creates good, green jobs and a sustainable investment in our communities.

With the powers of independence, what’s the one thing about Scotland you would change?

There are so many reasons why Scotland’s future must be in our hands – and so much to achieve with the powers of independence. But if I had to choose just one thing, it would be to permanently banish nuclear weapons from Scotland as part of a written constitution.

Nuclear weaponry is completely immoral, expensive and singularly ineffective in defending us against modern security threats. It has no place in a modern democracy.

Tell us something unusual about yourself?

I love music and when I’m not working or campaigning I sing in a wee folk duo called LEAL.

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