Born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1959, Tommy was educated at a local grammar school and, equipped with the requisite A levels, moved to Scotland to study medicine at Aberdeen University. He graduated with a degree in politics and sociology – the start of a lifelong interest in politics (see more below). He returned to Scotland in 1993 and established the Stand Comedy Club in 1995, which he started as a hobby and built into a successful business. Tommy lives in Newington with his partner Kate and cocker spaniel Henry.

Political Background

Tommy also has a longstanding, active political background. He held office in the National Union of Students, was formerly a councillor in London and moved back to Scotland having been appointed under leader John Smith, to be a full-time organiser for the Labour Party. Under Tony Blair, Tommy describes the Labour Party as having left him. In September 2014, after spending two years working on the Yes campaign he finally got round to joining the SNP.

In May 2015, Tommy Sheppard was elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 9,106 and 49.2% of the vote. Tommy was appointed as the SNP’s spokesperson on the Cabinet Office.

In June 2017 there was a snap general election. Tommy was returned at the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East. He was then appointed as the SNP's spokesperson on the House of Lords, Cabinet and Scotland Offices.

In December 2019 Tommy faced his third general election in five years as another snap general election was called. Tommy was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 10,417. In January 2020 he was appointed as the SNP Shadow Leader of the House.

His particular political interests include human rights, Palestine, anti-poverty, austerity, equality issues. 

Tommy’s constituency office is at 94 Portobello High Street. He also has an additional hub office in Craigmillar - 18 Niddrie Mains Road which is open Mon-Wed 1.30pm-4.30pm excluding bank holidays.

The story so far

1959 Tommy born at the Mary Rankin hospital, Coleraine. Spends his first seven years living in an estate known locally as The Heights.
1966 Moves to Portstewart just four miles away.
1970 Passes the eleven plus and goes to the local grammar school in Coleraine.
1977 Equipped with requisite A levels, sets off to Aberdeen University to study medicine.
1982 Graduates with a degree in politics and sociology having spent rather more time on student politics than academia. Elected Vice-president of NUS and heads to London.
1984 Leaves NUS after two years full time and works in London’s East End campaigning against racism and police harassment.
1986 Gets elected to Hackney Council at age of 27 as member of the Labour Party. Convenes Police, Leisure and then Finance committees.
1990 Re-elected as councillor and become deputy leader of the authority.
1992 Stand for parliament in Bury St Edmunds. Loses and starts planning move back to Scotland.
1993 Arrives in Edinburgh to take up position as senior official with District Council.
1994 Appointed Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland under John Smith’s leadership.
1995 Starts The Stand Comedy Club as a hobby and run first shows during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
1996 Fails to win TV’s Masterchef
1997 Made redundant from Labour Party job over disagreements on whether Scottish party should control its own affairs. Starts working freelance and decides to turn The Stand into a business.
1998 The Stand opens as Scotland’s first full time comedy club in York Place – Tommy starts working as the company’s director.
2000 Second Stand club opens in Glasgow – job becomes full time.
2003 Tommy fails to renew membership as the Labour Party leaves him.
2007 Active in Scottish independence campaigns.
2011 Takes the business across the border to open The Stand in Newcastle.
2012 Work expands as company wins contract to run The Assembly Rooms as a major fringe venue. Meanwhile Tommy becomes local (south Edinburgh) organiser of the Yes Scotland campaign.
2014 Joined SNP after the referendum results in narrow vote against independence.
2015 Elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 9,106 and 49.2% of the vote
2015 Became SNP Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office
2015 Elected as Vice-Convener of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine.
2016 Tommy stood for election as Depute Leader of the SNP and came second to Angus Robertson
2017 Re-elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 3,425 and 42.5% of the vote. 
2017 Appointed SNP Spokesperson for the House of Lords, Scotland and Cabinet Offices
2019 Re-elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East with a majority of 10,417 and 48.4% of the vote
2020 Appointed SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons