Aberdeen – an international city

Aberdeen is an internationally-recognised business centre with globally-competitive industries particularly in energy and renewables, food, drink and agriculture. It has two leading universities and internationally significant research centres.

As Lord Provost I’m very proud that Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan city and offers a fabulous quality of life for all ages. It has a fabulously diverse population from across the UK and overseas. In fact, at the time of the 2011 Census, 15.9% (35,436 people) of Aberdeen’s population was born outside the UK. The respective figures were 5.9% (15,047) for Aberdeenshire and 7.0% (369, 284) for Scotland.

The 2011 census also revealed that the top ten languages (other than English) used at home by the population of Aberdeen are: Polish, other UK languages (including Scots), French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Arabic, Malayalam and Yoruba.

As Lord Provost and Lord-Lieutenant (Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in Aberdeen) I am in the very privileged position of meeting people from around the world almost on a daily basis.

Being Lord Provost to me means that wherever I go I am an Ambassador for Aberdeen and its citizens – whether in the city, visiting other areas of the UK or abroad.

As Lord Provost (May 2017) I have been honoured to meet diplomatic and other representatives from Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the USA.

During the course of a week local groups, tourists from across the UK and abroad visit go on tours of the Town House. Whenever I’m in my office and there is a tour taking place I will try diary permitting to pop along to meet those on the tours and say hello.

Perhaps if you take a tour of the Town House you might see me during your visit.

Here are some photographs of some of the visitors I’ve met since becoming Lord Provost.






A Great Honour

I have the great honour of being the Lord Provost of Aberdeen and as this is the first post on my new blog I thought I would take the opportunity to explain about the role.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen is an ancient office with its roots in the 13th century. The Lord Provost acts as Convener of the City Council, Civic Head and Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen.

As Lord Provost I am the Convener of Aberdeen City Council – in other words whenever there is a meeting of the full Council I preside over the meeting. I am responsible for ruling on procedural matters, accepting motions and questions, ensuring free and fair debate, using a casting vote when required, and maintaining order in the chamber.

This role is wide-ranging, involving all sectors of the local community in addition to regional, national, and strong international elements.

As Civic Head, the Lord Provost’s role is to engage with the community through active involvement in all areas of city life, encouraging good citizenship, promoting the city at home and abroad, and giving recognition to the achievements of citizens and local organisations.

Being the Lord Provost also means that I’m Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen.

This tradition dates back to August 1899, which saw the constitution of the city of Aberdeen as a ‘county of a city’ by Queen Victoria. Following this, the office of Lord-Lieutenant was established in Aberdeen and linked to the office of Lord Provost.

In its modern form, the Lord-Lieutenant is the monarch’s first representative within the city boundary. My principal duty is to represent the Crown within the Lieutenancy area and to uphold its dignity. In practical terms this means facilitating Royal visits, promoting the Honours system, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and liaise with the armed forces.

Vice Lord-Lieutenant Andrew Lawtie helps to deliver Lord-Lieutenancy duties and liaises with the team of Deputy Lieutenants of Aberdeen.

I aim to publish a blog regularly, which will give you an insight into what the role of Lord Provost involves and share some news and photos.





The Lord Provost addressed fellow representatives at the World Energy Cities Partnership conference in Halifax, Canada in 2018. While there he was appointed to the post of Vice President of the WECP.