Current Location

Fetching weather...

How much do we know about new Scottish secretary Alister Jack?

The Dumfries and Galloway MP is replacing the sacked David Mundell at Dover House.

Alister Jack: New Scottish secretary attends first Cabinet meeting. Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty

How much do we know about the new secretary of state for Scotland, Alister Jack?

Not a lot.

The Dumfries and Galloway MP has been parachuted into Dover House after only being elected in the 2017 general election.

He will replace David Mundell, sacked in Boris Johnson’s rampaging Wednesday night reshuffle, after serving in the Scotland Office for nine years and under two Prime Ministers.

Jack unseated the SNP’s Richard Arkless in the 2017 snap vote with an 11.2% swing and 43.3% of the vote – taking a majority of 5643.

In April, he was made a government whip having served as an assistant for two months and as a parliamentary private secretary before that.

Jack is an enthusiastic Brexiteer – he was one of only three Scottish MPs to sign a letter by Conservative backbenchers urging Theresa May to forge a “clean break” from Brussels.

The plea, signed by 62 MPs and organised by the hardline European Research Group, called on the UK to have full “regulatory autonomy” after Brexit.

However, Jack did in the end vote for May’s EU withdrawal agreement.

Accepting the role of Scottish secretary, he said he would “defend the union against those who would seek to tear it apart”.

Jack continued: “In 2014, the people of Scotland voted to remain part of a strong United Kingdom.

“We will stand up for their decision against those who would try to impose unwanted and divisive constitutional change.”

In 2017, the MP railed against the BBC in a letter for “pandering to a separatist agenda” over its Proms coverage.

He was unhappy that the songs performed at the Proms in the Park concert in Glasgow that year, held to mark the Last Night of the Proms in London, did not include ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Jerusalem’.

Six years earlier, during the Scottish Tory leadership contest of 2011, Jack threw his weight behind Murdo Fraser’s campaign, who was ultimately defeated by Ruth Davidson.

Fraser had campaigned to form a rebranded, breakaway party completely separate from the UK Conservatives.

In 2007, the Scotsman wrote a profile on Jack as a millionaire businessman describing him as “dismissive of both the theory and practice of the Scottish Parliament”.

Alister Jack: ‘I do enjoy country sports’ (file pic). ITV Border

The Dumfries-born Jack has been involved in Conservative politics for decades, unsuccessfully running for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale in the 1997 general election.

He amassed a £20m fortune by founding various tent-hire and self-storage companies and later selling them on.

Hailing from a family of south-west Scotland farmers, Jack owns a 1200-acre farming estate near Lockerbie and enjoys fishing, shooting and golfing.

One journalist, quoting a “Scottish Tory frontbencher”, described the new Scottish secretary as “capable” but added: “The reason he is so popular with the UK party is because he invites ministers to his country estate.”

Speaking in 2017 to ITV Border’s Kathryn Samson – now STV’s Westminster correspondent – he dismissed the charge he was a “toff”.

Jack told her: “I do enjoy country sports and I make no secret of that… but I’m local born-and-bred.”

“I’ve got a past in business that proves I get things done,” he added.

The 56-year-old MP is married with three grown-up children, and, unusually for a politician, he doesn’t have a Twitter account.


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?