21 Facts About Alex Cole-Hamilton


Alexander Geoffrey Cole-Hamilton was born on 22 July 1977 and is a Scottish politician who has served as Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats since 2021 and the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Edinburgh Western constituency since 2016.


Alex Cole-Hamilton's family moved from Lancashire to Scotland when he was 8 years old.


Alex Cole-Hamilton went on to work for the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament until late 2003 at which point he was appointed as a policy and communications officer in the Children's voluntary sector, where he worked for various organisations until his election in 2016.


Alex Cole-Hamilton won several Scottish and UK awards with other colleagues in the informal 'Coalition for Continuing Care' for their successful campaign to change the age of leaving care in Scotland from 18 to 21.


Alex Cole-Hamilton stood in several constituencies unsuccessfully as a Lib Dem candidate: at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election for the Kirkcaldy constituency; at the 2005 general election for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath; in 2007 for Stirling and in 2011 for Edinburgh Central.


In May 2016, Alex Cole-Hamilton was elected to the Scottish Parliament for the Edinburgh Western constituency.


In 2018, Alex Cole-Hamilton successfully persuaded the Scottish Government to reverse a planned funding cut to HIV Scotland that would have sunk that organisation.

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In 2020, during parliamentary deliberation of the first Coronavirus Act, Alex Cole-Hamilton introduced amendments which forced a government U-turn on their proposals to abolish jury trials in Scotland for the duration of the emergency.


In February 2021, Alex Cole-Hamilton was forced to apologise after having been seen swearing at Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd during an online committee hearing.


Alex Cole-Hamilton wrote Todd a letter of apology, as well as publicly apologising in the Holyrood Chamber the week after.


At the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, Alex Cole-Hamilton received 25,578 votes, the highest number of votes ever cast for a single candidate in the Scottish Parliament election.


Alex Cole-Hamilton beat the runner-up, SNP candidate Sarah Masson, by 9,885 votes.


On 27 July 2021, Alex Cole-Hamilton announced his intention to stand in the upcoming Scottish Liberal Democrats leadership election to replace Willie Rennie.


Alex Cole-Hamilton won the election unopposed on 20 August 2021 and took office the same day.


Alex Cole-Hamilton has prioritised campaigning on children's mental health, long covid, tackling the climate crisis and supporting Ukrainian refugees.


Alex Cole-Hamilton was sanctioned by the Kremlin in August 2022 following his public criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and his efforts to highlight Russian influence in Scotland.


Alex Cole-Hamilton spoke at an Oxford Union debate on Scottish independence on 24 February 2023.


Scotland, of course, is an ancient nation with a proud history, but in the here and now it is the tired arguments of Unionists like Alex Cole-Hamilton that have resulted in the new Alba Party now being well ahead in membership of the Liberals who have been around for 150 years.


Alex Cole-Hamilton is married to wife, Gillian, a teacher and Liberal Democrat candidate.


Alex Cole-Hamilton used the publicity around this to raise awareness of the importance of infant first aid and organised several first aid training events in his constituency.


Alex Cole-Hamilton ranked 27 out of 50 on the Top 50 Lib Dems of 2020 list.