Tommy Sheppard

Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East

Scottish National Party


In 1982, SNP MP Tommy Sheppard graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a degree in Politics and Sociology. This was the beginning of a lifelong interest in both politics and Scotland. He spent time as the vice-chairman of the NUS and as a councillor in Hackney under the Labour banner, before moving back to Scotland. Here he renounced his Labour Party membership in lieu of the New Labour movement, claiming “My outlook has barely changed, but clearly the Labour Party has.” Sheppard is passionately republican and pro-Scottish independence. In 2012, the Stand comedy club co-founder became the Yes Scotland organiser for Edinburgh South, joining the SNP after the referendum in September 2014. In the general election one year later, he became the MP for Edinburgh East and is now the SNP’s shadow leader of the house of commons. He has also been the party’s spokesperson for Scotland, the Cabinet Office and the House of Lords, and has sat on the Scottish Affairs Committee. Not unlike other MPs from the 2015 intake, Sheppard has spent much of his parliamentary career talking about Brexit. He is steadfastly pro-Europe and uses the issues to press for Scottish independence and supports postponing a second referendum on independence until after Brexit in the belief that the Yes campaign will be more successful under those circumstances. There was once speculation that Sheppard would run for the leadership of the SNP. However, he ruled himself out, saying “I want to be free to contribute and lead debates about the policy.” Sheppard is most proud of his contributions to the Yes campaign.

Hot Seat

What domestic issues or reforms are of most concern to you?

Constitutional reform, political independence for Scotland, tackling inequality and switching to a green economy.

Which foreign affairs issues are of most importance to you?

Palestine, global nuclear disarmament, and reform of international trade to assist sustainable development.

Are there any ways you would like to see Parliament/our political system reformed?


Financial Interests

Official parliamentary photograph taken by Chris McAndrew, 2017, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0