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Maureen Elizabeth Watt (born 23 June 1951)[1] is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician and former Minister for Mental Health in the Scottish Government. She is the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) representing the constituency of Aberdeen South and North Kincardine since 2011, having previously served as a regional for North East Scotland from 2006 until 2011.

Maureen Watt

Minister for Mental Health
In office
18 May 2016 – 27 June 2018
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byJamie Hepburn (as Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health)
Succeeded byClare Haughey
Minister for Public Health
In office
21 November 2014 – 18 May 2016
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byMichael Matheson
Succeeded byAileen Campbell
Convener of the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
In office
15 June 2011 – 25 November 2014
Preceded byPatrick Harvie (as Convenor of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee)
Succeeded byJim Eadie
Minister for Schools and Skills
In office
17 May 2007 – 10 February 2009
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Preceded byHugh Henry
Succeeded byKeith Brown
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine
Assumed office
6 May 2011
Preceded byNicol Stephen
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
19 April 2006 – 23 March 2011
Personal details
Born (1951-06-23) 23 June 1951 (age 68)
Political partyScottish National Party
RelationsHamish Watt (father)
ChildrenStuart Donaldson

Early lifeEdit

Born in Aberdeen to a farming family, she was educated at Keith Grammar School and studied at University of Strathclyde, graduating with an Honours degree in Politics.[2] She went on to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Birmingham.[2]

Early careerEdit

She was a teacher in Social Studies at a Comprehensive school in England from 1974−1976[2] and moved back to Scotland to work in the oil sector.[3] In the mid-1990s she worked as Rector’s Assessor for Allan Macartney when he was Rector of the University of Aberdeen.[4] In 1998 she was appointed to the Independent Commission on Local Government and the Scottish Parliament.[5]

She was a Councillor on Grampian Regional Council and had served on the Visiting Committee of Aberdeen Prison.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Watt stood a candidate in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election but was not elected.[6] Before the term ended, Richard Lochhead resigned his seat to contest the Moray by-election. The next person on the SNP list from the 2003 election had been Alasdair Allan but he refused his place in Parliament as he had secured the SNP nomination for the Western Isles for the 2007 election. The next person on the list was Maureen Watt, who took up the place.

Watt was sworn in as MSP on 19 April 2006, becoming the first MSP to swear their oath of allegiance in Doric.[7][8]

Watt made her maiden speech[9] on 20 April 2006 on the subject of Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation. With a gap of only 17 hours 25 minutes since taking the Parliamentary oath she took over the record for the shortest wait from John Scott.

After the SNP's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, Watt was appointed as the Minister for Schools and Skills.[10] She left this office on 10 February 2009.

In May 2011, Watt was elected as SNP MSP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine on a 15.77% swing from the Liberal Democrats.

She was Convener of the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee from 15 June 2011.[11] On 21 November 2014 she was appointed Minister of Public Health, succeeding Michael Matheson who was promoted to the Cabinet.[12]

In May 2016, Watt was re-elected for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine. On 18 May 2016 she was moved to the post of Minister for Mental Health in a reshuffle.[13]


Watt is the daughter of former SNP MP (1974–1979) Hamish Watt. She is married with two children. One of them, Stuart Donaldson, served as an SNP MP for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine in the British Parliament between 2015 and 2017.[14]


  1. ^ "Maureen Watt MSP". Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "NHSScotland Event Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, Glasgow 23-24 June 2015. Plenary Speakers. Maureen Watt. MSP Minister for Public Health". NHS National Services Scotland. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Minister for Public Health: Maureen Watt MSP". Scottish Government. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. ^ Costello, Grant (26 November 2014). "Maureen Watt MSP on her ministerial appointment". The Gaudie. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  5. ^ "University of Aberdeen Rector's Assessor appointed to key post" (Press release). University of Aberdeen. 11 February 1998. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Aspect 2003: Maureen Watt, Scottish National Party candidate, Aberdeen South, 2003". Glasgow Digital Library. University of Strathclyde. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Someone to spik up for Doric at last". The Scotsman. 22 April 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Doric oath as new MSPs sworn in". BBC News. 19 April 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  9. ^ Official Report; c 24778, Scottish Parliament, 20 April 2006
  10. ^ "Salmond announces his new cabinet". BBC News. BBC. 16 May 2007.
  11. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 4: Maureen Watt". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon announces new Scottish cabinet". BBC News. BBC. 21 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Who is in the 2016 Scottish cabinet?". BBC News. 18 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Election 2015: Who are the 56 new SNP MPs?". BBC News. BBC. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.

External linksEdit