About me


I grew up on the Northern side of Edinburgh and have lived in or around Edinburgh Northern and Leith throughout most of my life.

I live in Edinburgh Northern and Leith now and care passionately about all of our strong, vibrant and diverse communities.

Ben in Northern Edinburgh

I’ve always been motivated to help achieve greater social justice and progress, which is why I’ve been involved in politics as a campaigner and activist for many years. I’m a qualified solicitor, which means I understand how government functions, how the economy works and how policy is implemented. My legal experience also means that I know how to represent other people.

Previously, I’ve worked in a variety of additional roles in the private, public and third sectors. I’ve worked in renewable energy, financial services and for an international charity.

I'm a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and the University of York.



The University of Edinburgh
Bachelor of Laws (LLB) : 2010 – 2012
Diploma in Professional Legal Practice:  – 

The Open University
History:   2010 – 2012
Modern Scottish History (1707-2007)  - Level 3 - 60
Medieval to Modern History (1400-1900) - Level 2 - 60 Credits

University of York
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Philosophy and Politics, Second Class Honours Division One (2:1)

Since I was first elected as the MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith in 2016, I've sought to represent and deliver lasting positive change for my constituents with energy and a constructive approach. In May 2021, I was privileged and humbled to be re-elected to serve the communities of Edinburgh Northern and Leith. I will continue to represent my constituents to the best of my ability. I will seek to provide a strong voice for local communities and will continue working hard to help enact positive change in any way I can.

In June 2018, I was appointed as Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development. I was honoured and delighted to have been appointed to this position by the First Minister. As a committed internationalist, and proud representative of such a diverse constituency, this was an important responsibility - to emphasise, enhance and promote Scotland’s position as an outward-looking, European and progressive nation. In February 2020 I was appointed to the role Minister for Public Finance and Migration. Then, in December 2020 I was appointed as Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment. In May 2021, I was appointed as the Minister for Social Security and Local Government, and served in this role until April 2023.

Scroll to top