About Liam McArthur

Liam McArthur was born in Edinburgh and moved to live in Sanday, Orkney with his family in 1977 when he was ten.

Island life gave Liam a strong sense of community and an understanding of the importance of allowing people, particularly in remoter communities, the chance to take decisions that affect their own lives.

This experience informed his political outlook from an early age.

While at Kirkwall Grammar School, where he was a monthly boarder in the school hostel, Liam developed an active interest in politics, as well as pursuing sports, including football, which would become a lifelong passion.

Representing Orkney in the junior inter county clashes against Caithness and arch rivals Shetland remains one of Liam's proudest achievements!

After spending a year in Mexico as an American Field Service student, Liam went to Edinburgh University to study for a degree in politics.

As well as developing many enduring friendships, university life helped further inform his early political thinking and a commitment to liberalism. There was also time, of course, for football and Liam went on to captain the Edinburgh University first team and play for Scottish Universities in the UK finals.

His interest in sport has also led him to play a leading role in charity work to support victims of sports injuries and their families.

After graduating, Liam headed to London to take on the role of researcher in the House of Commons for then Orkney & Shetland MP, Jim Wallace. A friendship which would later play a key role in Liam’s decision to return to Orkney.

After a couple of years learning the ropes in Westminster, Liam applied for an internship in the European Commission in Brussels and worked with Nordic countries, which were then preparing to join the European Union.

He stayed on to work as a public affairs consultant for a number of years, enabling him to play an active part in the Brussels and Luxembourg Liberal Democrats and also continue his 'international' footballing career with local club Royal Brussels British! More importantly, it was in Brussels that Liam met his wife Tamsin and they returned to London in 1998 before starting a family.

By this time the Scottish Parliament was being established and the Liberal Democrats were preparing to enter into a Coalition Government with Labour.

Liam was invited to work as Special Adviser to his friend and political mentor Jim Wallace, then Deputy First Minister. This gave Liam a taste of the cut-and-thrust of cross-party working, and involvement in high level decision-making in key policy areas including rural affairs, fisheries, enterprise and education.

After Jim Wallace's decision to step down as an MSP, Liam decided to put his name forward for selection and was delighted to receive the support of the Orkney Liberal Democrats. Liam was elected as Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney in 2007 and moved back to Orkney with his family - Tamsin and their two sons Calum and Tom, who entered Burray Primary School.

He now spends as much time in Orkney as possible, and is actively involved in local sports and charities, when not performing his Parliamentary duties in Edinburgh and beyond.

In recent years he has enjoyed representing the Scottish Parliament as part of a number of overseas delegations, and has particularly welcomed the opportunity to visit Malawi on a few occasions.

As well as helping advise members of the National Assembly, Liam has worked hard to develop the close ties that exist between communities in Orkney and Malawi, notably a twinning arrangement between Minga School near Lilongwe and Liam's old school in Sanday.

Liam has felt immensely proud to represent the islands he was brought up in and that have helped shape his views and deep commitment to liberalism. In return, he has always recognised the need to be approachable and accessible to all his constituents, providing a clear, consistent and compassionate voice for the islands in Holyrood.

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