Ian was born and raised in Alyth, Perthshire, where his family farmed raspberries and strawberries. He holds a degree in geology from St Andrews and a doctorate in palaeontology from Bristol University. He interned at Harvard and the Smithsonian Institution in the US, and was a teaching fellow at Bristol before joining BP as a policy analyst, specialising in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.
Thereafter, Ian was appointed Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, a position he held for four years, and later Head of Policy & Communication for the Scottish Refugee Council. Ian was for 7 years the head of the Scottish Parliament’s Office in Brussels – the European eyes and ears of Holyrood. He returned to Scotland in 2011 to take up the role of Clerk to the Parliament’s European Committee and EU Advisor to the Parliament. Ian resigned from the Parliament to pursue the Conservative Party’s nomination to succeed Struan Stevenson in the European Parliament. He was elected in May 2014 polling the highest number of Scottish Conservative votes in a European Election in 25 years.
In his spare time, Ian paints. He has exhibited work in Glasgow and Brussels. Ian led his first campaign while still at school, overturning the local council’s plan to close his school. He joined the Conservative Party while at St Andrews, and has campaigned in Scotland and England for various Conservative candidates. In the 2003 Scottish election, he stood for the Parliamentary seat of Aberdeen South.
Ian lives in Edinburgh with his partner.