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Welcome!

Liam being sworn in at Holyrood

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. My name is Liam McArthur and I was elected as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Orkney in May 2007 and was re-elected in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

On this site, you'll be able to find out more about the constituency, my background and what I've been up to recently as well as reading my press releases. However, if you have any questions or comments, I'd be delighted to hear from you. Please use the 'contact Liam' page on this site. In the meantime, I hope you find your visit useful.

About me

In 1977, my parents moved to Sanday, where they still live and work. I attended Sanday school and Kirkwall Grammar before spending a school year in Mexico on the international AFS programme. After graduating with a Politics degree from Edinburgh University, I joined Jim Wallace as his researcher in the House of Commons. I was involved in all aspects of his parliamentary, constituency and party work.

After the 1992 general election, I took up a post in the European Commission External Affairs directorate before embarking on a career in consultancy - spending eight years in Brussels and London helping companies, associations and charities engage with the political process at EU and UK levels.

I was appointed by Jim Wallace as Special Adviser to the Deputy First Minister in 2002 and spent three years advising Liberal Democrat Ministers on policy issues including enterprise, energy, lifelong learning, agriculture, fisheries and environment.

A football enthusiast, I played in Orkney's inter-county team and for Scottish Universities, while captain of Edinburgh University. My other interests include music, reading and fundraising for charities supporting victims of serious sports injuries.

I am married to Tamsin and have two young sons, Calum (12) and Tom (9).

About the constituency

"Orkney boasts an incredible heritage and a vital cultural scene."
The List 'Destinations' supplement March '07

Orkney consists of a group of islands, 18 of them inhabited, situated off the north coast of the Scottish Mainland. More than three-quarters of the island's 20 000 population live on the Orkney Mainland, some 7 000 of them in the City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall, the administrative centre for the island, and 2 000 of them in Stromness, the other main town and ferry port. The main industries are, agriculture, tourism, fishing, oil, aquaculture, craftwork, food processing distilling and brewing.

The quality produce exported from the islands includes beef, cheese, seafood, jewellery, baking and confectionery, and of course Highland Park and Scapa malt whisky and the famous Skull Splitter Beer.

Visitors to Orkney enjoy the scenery, the wildlife, the food, the world famous archaeological sites and of course the renowned Orkney welcome. The internal affairs of the islands are controlled by Orkney Islands Council, while the health services are run by NHS Orkney. Orkney shares a Member of Parliament with Shetland, the group of islands to the north, and has a long tradition of electing Whigs, Liberals and now Liberal Democrats. After a brief interlude with a Conservative MP, the seat was won for the Liberals in 1950 by Jo Grimond, Leader of the Liberal Party for 10 years during the 1950s and 1960s. The seat was held by Jo Grimond until he retired in 1983, when the seat was retained for the Liberals by Jim Wallace. Jim Wallace remained the MP until 2001 when the seat was won for the Liberal Democrats by Alistair Carmichael. During the negotiations over the terms of the Scotland Act, Jim Wallace won separate representation for Orkney and for Shetland in the new Scottish Parliament, and in 1999 he was elected as Orkney's first MSP.