Paul Wheelhouse was born in Northern Ireland, near Belfast, in 1970 before moving to Edinburgh at the age of 3 with his parents and two sisters. After school at Stewart's Melville College in Edinburgh, Paul went on to study at the University of Aberdeen where he graduated with an Honours Degree (MA (Hons) 2:1) in Economic Science in 1992, before gaining a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Edinburgh's Management School in 1999, after studying alongisde his then full-time job as a professional economist.
In 2000, Paul moved to the cliff top village of Cove on the stunning Berwickshire coast, where he spent five happy years, including serving as the local Community Council secretary, before moving further down the coast to Ayton, near Eyemouth, where Paul again served on the village's Community Council, until having to stand down when elected to the Scottish Parliament. Paul also served as Chairperson of the Ayton Primary School Parent Council. Paul continues to live in Ayton. Paul is separated with one son.
Following a 19 year career as an economic development consultant with Pieda plc, DTZ Consulting and then BiGGAR Economics, in which time Paul became a Senior Economic Consultant, he developed a capability on education matters, economic appraisals, policy evaluation and a role as an expert witness for local plan inquiry work, Paul was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 as an SNP MSP for the South Scotland region and was subsequently re-elected in 2016.
Paul passionately believes that Scotland's future is best served as a sovereign,independent nation with the strongest possible trading links with the European Union. Paul has been an active member of the Scottish National Party since joining in 2003, serving in a variety of office bearer positions and is currently Vice Convener of the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire SNP Constituency Association and is a member of Berwickshire Branch. Paul cares deeply for the South for Scotland area and first stood for the Scottish Parliament constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in 2011, increasing the share of the vote taken by his party from 17.8% (in 2007, notional estimate for new constituency boundary) to 26.4% in 2011 and then increased this further to 31.8% in 2016. While Paul has yet to win his home seat, he has taken inspiration from Scottish history and says: "If at first you don't succeed,....".
Since his election as an MSP, Paul has held four Ministerial roles. In September 2012, he was promoted quickly from the backbenches to Minister for Environment and Climate Change, serving under the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, until November 2014 . Paul was then appointed to the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs brief as part of Nicola Sturgeon MSP’s first ministerial team and served in that role until the 2016 election. Following the 2016 Holyrood election, Paul was appointed as Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, during which time Paul won international praise for the Scottish Government's approach to developing the Scottish Government's policy to not support fracking in Scotland.
In the most recent reshuffle in June 2018, Paul was appointed in a newly created post as Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, retaining his Energy brief and to it adding connectivity (ferries policy and Scottish Government interventions to address poor coverage of mobile and broadband telecommunications) and adding the responsibility regarding Scotland's 93 inhabited islands, i.e. responsibility for oversight of delivery of the groundbreaking Islands (Scotland) Act of 2018. Paul has led for the Scottish Government on taking several Bills and countless pieces of secondary legislation through the Scottish Parliament and he is currently lead Minister on the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill.
Paul also won the ‘Politician of the Year’ Award at the 2015 'Nature of Scotland Awards' hosted by RSPB on behalf of the environmental community, recognising his contribution to the conservation of Scotland’s wildlife and natural environment. Paul has also received recognition for his work in regard to the renewable energy sector, having received the 'Oustanding Contribution Award' at the 2019 annual Green Energy Awards hosted by Scottish Renewables - the first politician to do so.