I was employed for 23 years at the ICI sites at Powfoot and Dumfries in a number of roles from Plant Operative, Security Officer, Quality Assurance Inspector and Senior Production Supervisor. During that time from 1986-1997, I served as a Councillor on Dumfries & Galloway Regional Council, Annandale & Eskdale District Council and Dumfries & Galloway Unitary Authority. In 1997, I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Dumfries Constituency and in 2005, as a result of boundary changes, I was elected as the Member for Dumfries & Galloway.
During my time in Parliament, I was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords, and various Secretaries of State for Scotland, as well as the Secretary of State for International Development. Between 2010 and 2015, I served as the Shadow Defence Minister with responsibility for International Security Strategy, and also the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scotland Office.
The imposition of early retirement in May 2015 has enabled me to become involved with some local charities in Dumfries and Annan, and I have also taken up the opportunity to start SFA Football Coaching by taking an Under-13 team at Annan Athletic. Retirement has enabled me to spend more time with my family, especially my 4 grandchildren, but it has also given me the chance to begin to clock up additional miles on our motorhome!