- Douglas Alexander
The Right Honourable
Shadow Foreign Secretary Incumbent Assumed office
20 January 2011
Leader Ed Miliband Preceded by Yvette Cooper Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions In office
8 October 2010 – 20 January 2011
Leader Ed Miliband Preceded by Yvette Cooper Succeeded by Liam Byrne Shadow Secretary of State for International Development In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman
Preceded by Andrew Mitchell Succeeded by Harriet Harman Secretary of State for International Development In office
28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown Preceded by Hilary Benn Succeeded by Andrew Mitchell Secretary of State for Scotland In office
6 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair Preceded by Alistair Darling Succeeded by Des Browne Secretary of State for Transport In office
6 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair Preceded by Alistair Darling Succeeded by Ruth Kelly Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs In office
5 May 2005 – 6 May 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair Preceded by Denis MacShane Succeeded by Geoff Hoon In office
8 September 2004 – 5 May 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair Preceded by Mike O'Brien (Trade) Succeeded by Ian Pearson Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13 June 2003 – 8 September 2004
Prime Minister Tony Blair Preceded by The Lord Macdonald of Tradeston Succeeded by Alan Milburn Member of Parliament
for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Paisley South (1997–2005)
Incumbent Assumed office
6 November 1997
Preceded by Gordon McMaster Majority 16,614 (41.54%) Personal details Born 26 October 1967
Political party Labour Alma mater Lester B. Pearson College
University of Edinburgh
University of Pennsylvania
Religion Church of Scotland Website Official website
Douglas Garven Alexander (born 26 October 1967) is a British Labour Party politician, who is currently the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the shadow cabinet of Ed Miliband. He has held cabinet posts under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, including Secretary of State for Scotland (2006-07) and Secretary of State for International Development (2007-10). He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Paisley & Renfrewshire South constituency, having first been elected to parliament in 1997.
Born in Glasgow, Alexander was first elected to parliament as the Labour Party candidate in the Paisley South by-election in 1997. In 2003, he became a junior minister and held several non-cabinet positions including Minister for Europe (2005-06). For the 2005 General Election, Alexander's Paisley South constituency was abolished, and he was elected in its successor seat, Paisley & Renfrewshire South, which takes in most of Paisley town centre and southern areas of the town, as well as the towns of Glenburn, Howwood, Johnstone, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch. From 2006-07, he held the two cabinet posts of Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Transport. Following Tony Blair's resignation in June 2007, Alexander became the Secretary of State for International Development, a post he held throughout Brown's premiership.
Following Labour's 2010 election defeat and subsequent election of Ed Miliband as party leader, Alexander was made the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions until January 2011, when following a cabinet re-shuffle, he was appointed the Shadow Foreign Secretary,
Alexander was born in Glasgow, the son of a Church of Scotland minister, Douglas N. Alexander, and a doctor. Much of his childhood was spent in Bishopton in Renfrewshire. A prominent member of the 1st Bishopton Company of the Boys Brigade, he played bugle in the Company's marching band helping them win the Scottish BB Marching Band Championship in 1981. Alexander attended Park Mains High School in Erskine, also in Renfrewshire, from where he joined the Labour Party as a school boy in 1982.
In 1984 he won a Scottish scholarship to attend Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada, where he gained the International Baccalaureate Diploma, returning to Scotland to study politics and modern history at the University of Edinburgh. He spent 1988/89, the third of his four undergraduate years, at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the exchange scheme between Edinburgh and Penn. Whilst studying in America, he worked for Michael Dukakis during the 1988 American Presidential Election campaign, he also worked for a Democratic senator in Washington DC. He graduated from Edinburgh with a first-class degree in 1990.
Family and personal life
His sister, Wendy Alexander, was also involved in politics as an MSP until 2011 and briefly as the Leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament until she resigned in 2008. His father, a Church of Scotland minister, conducted the funeral of the inaugural First Minister of Scotland, Donald Dewar at Glasgow Cathedral in 2000. He is married to Jacqueline Christian and they have two children. He is the great-nephew of Cecil Frances Alexander.
In 1990 he worked as a speech-writer and parliamentary researcher for Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, Gordon Brown. He returned to Edinburgh to study for an LL.B. at Edinburgh University, where he won the Novice Moot Trophy and graduated with Distinction in 1993. He then qualified as a solicitor. On qualifying as a solicitor he worked for a firm of solicitors in Edinburgh, which he left after six months.
Whilst still studying, in 1995, with friends in the local party and the backing of Gordon Brown—his mentor—he was selected to be the Scottish Labour Party candidate at the Perth and Kinross by-election caused by the death of the long serving flamboyant Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn. The by-election came in the middle of the Major government and was won by Roseanna Cunningham of the Scottish National Party, but Alexander did well and received enough votes to push the Conservative candidate into third place. This brought him to the attention of Tony Blair – and hotfoot from his defeat by the SNP he was welcomed at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness where he spoke immediately before Blair in the critical debate on abolition of Clause 4.4 of the Party Constitution.
The Perth and Kinross constituency was abolished, but Alexander was again chosen to be the Labour candidate in the newly drawn Perth constituency at the 1997 general election. He was pushed into third place behind the SNP and the Conservatives.
Member of Parliament
On 28 July 1997 the Labour Member of Parliament for Paisley South, Gordon McMaster, committed suicide. Alexander, who grew up in Renfrewshire, was chosen to contest the by-election and he was duly elected to serve as the Member of Parliament for Paisley South on 6 November 1997.
Minister of state
Alexander took a successful co-ordinating role in his party's campaign for the 2001 general election. He was rewarded by Tony Blair and was appointed as the Minister of State with responsibility for "e-commerce and competitiveness" at the Department of Trade and Industry in June 2001. In May 2002, Alexander was transferred to the Cabinet Office as Minister of State.
In June 2003 Alexander was promoted to Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and in September 2004 was moved to Minister of State for Trade at both the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
After the 2005 general election, he was given the role of Minister of State for Europe, part of the Foreign Office, with special provision to attend Cabinet. On 7 June 2005, he was made a Member of the Privy Council. On 5 May 2006 he was appointed Secretary of State for Transport and, simultaneously, Secretary of State for Scotland, replacing Alistair Darling, where he oversaw the running of the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.
- Torrance, David, The Scottish Secretaries (Birlinn 2006)
- Douglas Alexander MP official site
- Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP at the Foreign Office
- Douglas Alexander at the Department of Trade and Industry
- Douglas Alexander at Dfid
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Articles authored at Journalisted
- Steering safely down the middle, Gillian Bowditch interview in The Sunday Times Scotland, 24 September 2006
- Douglas Alexander profile in The New Statesman
Brown Cabinet Cabinet Members
Lord Adonis • Bob Ainsworth • Douglas Alexander • Baroness Ashton • Ed Balls • Hilary Benn • Hazel Blears • Ben Bradshaw • Gordon Brown • Des Browne • Liam Byrne • Andy Burnham • Yvette Cooper • Alistair Darling • John Denham • Peter Hain • Harriet Harman • Geoff Hoon • John Hutton • Alan Johnson • Tessa Jowell • Ruth Kelly • Lord Mandelson • David Miliband • Ed Miliband • Jim Murphy • Paul Murphy • James Purnell • Baroness Royall • Jacqui Smith • Jack Straw • Shaun Woodward
Also Attended Meetings Attended While on Agenda Shadow Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom Shadow Foreign Secretaries of the United Kingdom Secretaries of State for Scotland of the United Kingdom Scotland Office Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom Minister of Overseas Development Secretary of State for International Development Ministers for the Cabinet Office All but Jowell and Maude have served concurrently as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Ministers for EuropeDouglas Hurd · Malcolm Rifkind · Lynda Chalker · Francis Maude · Tristan Garel-Jones · David Heathcoat-Amory · David Davis · Doug Henderson · Joyce Quin · Geoff Hoon · Keith Vaz · Peter Hain · Denis MacShane · Douglas Alexander · Geoff Hoon · Jim Murphy · Caroline Flint · Glenys Kinnock · Chris Bryant · David Lidington Labour Party shadow cabinet election, 2010 Leader: Ed Miliband Elected Not electedDiane Abbott • Roberta Blackman-Woods • Ben Bradshaw • Kevin Brennan • Chris Bryant • Vernon Coaker • Wayne David • Jack Dromey • Robert Flello • Mike Gapes • Barry Gardiner • Helen Goodman • Peter Hain • David Hanson • Tom Harris • Huw Irranca-Davies • Kevan Jones • Eric Joyce • Barbara Keeley • David Lammy • Chris Leslie • Ian Lucas • Fiona Mactaggart • Pat McFadden • Alun Michael • Gareth Thomas • Emily Thornberry • Stephen Timms • Stephen Twigg • Shaun Woodward • Iain Wright Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet Leadership Shadow Cabinet Members Also attends meetings
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