Angus Struan Carolus Robertson:
He was born in Wimbledon, London, on 28 September 1969 and raised in Edinburgh. Educated at Broughton High School, Edinburgh he completed his education at the University of Aberdeen, from which he graduated in 1991 with an MA Honours degree in politics and international relations. After university, he embarked on a journalistic career and worked as a foreign and diplomatic correspondent in Central Europe for the BBC World Service. Outside politics he is a music fan and particularly likes Metallica and Belle and Sebastian. He is a supporter of the Heart of Midlothian football team.
Political Career: Robertson was first elected to the UK House of Commons in June 2001, representing the Moray constituency.
He was a member of the European Scrutiny Committee from 2001 to 2010 and served as the SNP’s spokesman on Defence and International Relations.
In May 2007, he became SNP Leader in the House of Commons.
Following the 2015 general election and the election of ex Party leader, Alex Salmond as MP for Gordon it was confirmed he would continue in his role as leader of the SNP in the Commons.
He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2015 and joined the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
Ahead of the 2015 General Election, he had the SNP pass a code of conduct that stated any MP must, “accept that no member shall within or outwith the parliament publicly criticise a group decision, policy or another member of the group”. Rival parties labelled it a “Stalinist” crackdown on free speech and independent thought.
He lost his Westminster seat in the 2016 General election and resigned as a Depute Leader of the SNP then established Progress Scotland, a pro-independence think-tank. On 13 October 2016, he was elected Deputy Leader of the SNP and resigned from the post in February 2018.
In February 2020, he announced his intention to contest the Edinburgh Central constituency in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. He won the seat and was appointed Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
2014: Robertson misses the Bedroom Tax vote
Robertson and three of his SNP colleagues missed a vote on repealing the bedroom tax, despite the SNP making opposition to the policy a central part of its campaign for a yes vote in that year’s independence referendum. Labour said: “Far from standing up for Scotland, the SNP have stayed at home and let Scotland down.”
Feb 2017: SNP Westminster leader Robertson dragged into a political lobbying row
The row raised questions about transparency and cronyism, after his wife Jennifer’s new PR company boasted it had “one of the best little black books in Scotland”.
The claim was made by Elgin-based communications firm Spey, which was set up by Robertson’s wife and former SNP councillor Alex MacLeod.
On the Inverness Chamber of Commerce website, Spey is described as a “progressive full-service communications agency”. Adding: “Spey prides itself on having one of the best little black books in Scotland.”
Spey is the trading name of Baxter-Robertson of Speyside Ltd. Jennifer, and MacLeod, are registered as 50-50 partners in the company, which was incorporated in September 2017.
Mr MacLeod became a councillor in Caithness at 19 but later pled guilty to charges related to election expenses, after spending triple the campaign limit. He resigned from the SNP and was sentenced to 160 hours of community service.
14 Feb 2017: How the Israel lobby influences British politics
A now disgraced senior diplomat at the Israeli embassy in London spent several hours courting the Scottish National Party’s deputy leader ahead of his official trip to Israel, raising further questions over Israel’s interference in British politics.
In undercover footage recorded as part of Al Jazeera’s investigation “The Lobby”, Shai Masot, a senior political officer at the embassy who was forced to quit after the film exposed his attempts to manipulate British politics is seen boasting of his relationship with Angus Robertson to an undercover reporter “Robin Harrow” (alias).
Maria Strizzolo, a British civil servant was with Masot when he said to Robin “I spent many hours with Angus. I think nine hours in total, sitting around inside the embassy. We had a lot of meetings and he told us many stories. He feels really close to the Jewish people and he has a great trip to Israel lined up”.
Over dinner at a Kensington brasserie, Masot recounted a story told to him by Robertson about his German grandfather who was a politician in the Reichstag and was persecuted by the Nazis. Following his arrest, his grandfather’s birth certificate was changed identifying him as Jewish making him de facto an enemy of the state.
Masot went on to relate another Robertson story from Scotland’s history of a 14th-century manuscript that laid claim to the Scottish nation by declaring that the Scots were in fact one of the lost tribes of Israel. “Mmm … I love Angus,” Masot stated, apparently keen to let his companions know that Robertson was someone Israel could work with at a political level.
Strizzolo, an activist with the Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary group, was also won over by Robertson. “I actually really like him,” she said. Full story and video here:(https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/2/14/shai-masot-courted-snps-angus-robertson-ahead-of-trip)
May 2017: Robertson breaks his promise to donate London house sale profit to charity
The SNP deputy chief, faced calls to return any profit to the public purse or to donate it to good causes as he originally pledged.
He bought a “small” flat in the London Borough of Lambeth in February 2006 for £227,500 and designated it as his second home under the former rules for MPs’ expenses and went on to claim almost £60,000 in mortgage interest, £4,000 in stamp duty and legal fees and around £16,000 for repairs and furnishings, including a £2,300 leather sofa bed, a £400 home cinema, an espresso maker, Sabatier knives and a £20 corkscrew.
When the expenses scandal broke in 2009, he was embarrassed by the revelations and responded by telling the Northern Scot newspaper in May 2009. “I will not personally profit from capital gains accrued while mortgage interest was paid for with taxpayers’ money. The public purse will be reimbursed through full capital gains tax payments, with any remaining capital gains returned to the parliamentary authorities or to good causes in my constituency.” with an undertaking to repay any profit he made from the sale of the flat.
In December 2013, the property was sold for £309,950, leaving Robertson with a gain of £82,450. After paying capital gains tax of approximately £17,000, he would have been left with a net profit of more than £60,000.
A spokesman for Robertson appeared to suggest the profit from the sale of the flat had been swallowed up by the costs of his divorce from his first wife, Carron. Last year he married Alex Salmond’s former aide Jennifer Dempsie, whose own career in politics was derailed by the row over a Scottish Government grant to the T In The Park music festival.
2019: Edinburgh Central Controversy
Ahead of the selection contest for the seat of Edinburgh Central, the SNP National Executive Committee announced that any MP chosen as a candidate for Holyrood would be obliged to resign from Westminster ahead of the election to the Scottish Parliament.
Some considered the rule change a deliberate “stitch-up” by Nicola Sturgeon to stop MP Joanna Cherry, a critic of the party leadership, from winning the party’s nomination for the seat and to boost Robertson’s candidacy. Cherry dropped out of the contest, citing an unwillingness to make her staff unemployed and Robertson won the party’s nomination and the seat.
2020: A Scottish Parliamentary inquiry
The inquiry was set up to: “To consider and report on the actions of the First Minister, Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints about Alex Salmond, former First Minister, considered under the Scottish Government’s “Handling of harassment complaints involving current or former ministers and procedure and actions in relation to the Scottish Ministerial Code.”
SNP inquiry convener Linda Fabiani wrote to Angus Robertson and said MSPs wanted to know:
“Whether, in your capacity as leader of the SNP group in the House of Commons, you had any interactions/ communications with the First Minister, Scottish Government officials or special advisers regarding any allegations or formal complaints against Alex Salmond about sexual harassment ?”
But there was no mention in the remit of SNP meetings or involvement of Westminster based SNP MP’s. She was out of line.
How “knowledge of allegations or formal complaints about sexual harassment against the former First Minister was shared within senior figures in the party of Government to inform its consideration of the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints”.
This request had absolutely no relevance to the unsubstantiated allegations made by two civil servants which was the matter the committee were remitted to investigate and report on.
“Is there any other information relevant to the committee’s remit of considering the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints about Mr Salmond?”
Weird one this!! A judge had already ruled that the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against Alex Salmond had been tainted with prejudice and illegal. Anything offered up to the committee by Robertson would be irrelevant.
Robertson, an ally of Sturgeon who had steamrollered him into position to stand for Holyrood in the Edinburgh Central seat the next year told the committee he did not possess any information relevant to its remit. A fitting end to the response but!!!!! he continued:
Now you ask there was an incident: “In 2009 I was called by an Edinburgh Airport manager about Alex Salmond’s perceived ‘inappropriateness’ towards female staff at the airport. I was asked if I could informally broach the subject with Mr Salmond to make him aware of this perception. “I raised the matter directly with Mr Salmond, who denied he had acted inappropriately in any way. I communicated back to the Edinburgh Airport manager that a conversation had happened. The matter was resolved, and without a formal complaint having been made, it was not reported further.” A dart laden with poison!!!
20th Sep 2020: Angus Robertson slated for saying elderly deaths are a ‘gain’ for independence
Robertson said: “55,000 predominantly No supporting voters [were] passing away every year” ad when combined with more “Yes” supporting young people reaching voting age, that had produced a “gain of over 100,000 for independence” since the referendum of 2014. Critics said the comments were “disgraceful” given the recent loss of thousands of old people from coronavirus and the emergence of a potentially lethal winter surge. In response, Robertson called the criticism “politically motivated” and “manufactured outrage”.
26 Sep 2021: Robertson told to get on with the day job
Mike Russell, SNP President attacked Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture MSP for failing to concentrate on his day job after he plugged his new book online.
The spat came after Robertson took to Twitter to promote his new book, “Vienna The International Capital”. In a now-deleted response, Russell who previously held Robertson’s Cabinet position said: “Hmm – might be a breach of MSP code too. And legitimate for people to ask what he is doing in the day job”. Records show Robertson has contributed to just four parliamentary debates since being elected in May, including his oath of affirmation. The confrontation will be uncomfortable for Sturgeon, who is already under pressure from within her party over a lack of progress on an independence referendum.
An insider said: “Robertson entered Holyrood with the trumpets sounding and was feted as possessing the personality and acumen to push Westminster for a second referendum which is why he got the job.
But he has been virtually anonymous since his appointment and a group of MSP’s and party members are irate that he appears to be concentrating his time on his latest book rather than promoting independence. It is a public spat that didn’t occur previously within the Party and is indicative of a breakdown in discipline and increasing discontent over the lack of desire to push for independence. It will also encourage members to jump ship to Alex Salmond’s Alba.
31 Oct 2021: Angus Robertson cancels book promo at event paid for by his department
Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture cancelled his appearance at a literary festival funded by the Scottish government department he runs, after the press enquired about the prime speaking spot to promote his book “Vienna The International Capital”
The festival was awarded £30,000 in August from Creative Scotland a government-funded and accountable body falling under Robertson’s brief. He has now cancelled the lecture together with an advert describing the book, which costs £25 as a “beautifully written, rich and extraordinary story”.
Lib Dem culture spokesman Joe McCauley said: “At the same time as the SNP takes a scythe to cultural centres in Glasgow, the Culture Secretary is trying to plug his book at a taxpayer-funded literary event. Sadly, anyone who can’t afford the £25 recommended retail price will be out of luck because his council colleagues want to close the libraries too. Scottish arts and culture ought to be for everyone.”
Scottish Conservative Shadow Culture Secretary Donald Cameron added: “Angus Robertson should be focused on our recovery from the pandemic rather than promoting his own book. While everyone wishes the Borders Book Festival to be a major success, eyebrows will be raised over the fact that the Culture Secretary was given a slot at an event that was awarded a funding boost by an agency overseen by the Scottish Government just a few months ago.”
Scottish Labour culture spokeswoman Sarah Boyack MSP said: “It’s hard to believe patrons of the Borders Book Festival were ever banging down the door to hear from Angus about his book.”
A Creative Scotland spokeswoman admitted the festival received funding. She said: “Borders Book Festival received £30,000 National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Open Fund.
17 Jan 2022: Angus Robertson defends the BBC stating that the Tory government’s attack is a threat to the future of essential public service broadcasting
He wrote: “Its journalists are free to hold decision-makers to account and programme-makers produce varied output which would often not be found from the commercial competition. Usually, public service broadcasters get it in the neck from people on all sides at some stage, but usually, they get the balance about right.
Just as Boris Johnson has been exposed to the last doubters as a lying, incompetent and corrupt Prime Minister, his government has launched a full-frontal funding attack on the BBC. Together with other wild and ideologically driven initiatives to distract attention from the Downing Street party scandal, his Tory praetorian guard wants to freeze and then scrap the BBC licence fee. This follows their privatisation plans for Channel 4.
UK government Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has started speculation about freezing the licence fee, which would deprive BBC of more than £2 billion for its TV and radio stations, the BBC website, podcasts, iPlayer and apps.
We need a proper debate about public service broadcasting in Scotland, with broadcasting powers exercised by the Scottish Parliament elected by the people of Scotland. Until then, unfortunately, we will be at the mercy of Nadine Dorries, Boris Johnson and their apologists. We must change that and we will do just that.
Comment: Unbelievable. A senior SNP politician defending the BBC the vitriolic unionist attack dog responsible for damaging the 2014 Scottish independence campaign
Information was gathered from the Scottish press.