Douglas Alexander MP

Douglas Alexander MP is a Labour MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire South. Secretary of State, Scotland Office. Secretary of State, Department for Transport. Former Minister of State for E-Commerce. Obtained a International Baccalaureate from Vancouver, Canada and a degree in Politics and Modern History at Edinburgh University and a MA Hons Degree from University of Pennysylvania. During his time in the States, he worked as a Press Steward for the Dukakis Presidential Campaign, and worked for a Democratic Senator on Capitol Hill. After graduating with a first class MA Hons Degree, he began work as a Parliamentary Researcher and Speechwriter for Gordon Brown MP, a position he held for a year, before returning to Scotland to qualify as a lawyer. Entered Parliament on the 6 November 1997.


Write: to Douglas Alexander MP, 2014 Mile End Mill, Abbey Mill Business Centre, Seedhill Road, Paisley, PA1 1JS

Call: 0141 561 0333


National Vehicle Tracking Database

The Times reports in 'Big Brother' plan for police to use new road cameras 18 July 2007

Douglas Alexander, who was transport secretary until three weeks ago, told the Home Office the bulk transfer of data to the police was out of proportion to the problem and "might be seen as colouring the debate about road charging (that material being collected for traffic purposes is being used for other outcomes)".

Electronic Voting

After the trouble with the May 2007 elections in Scotland the Guardian reported in SNP demands Alexander's resignation

The SNP called on the Scottish secretary, Douglas Alexander, to resign today over the chaos that engulfed last week's Holyrood elections and led to more than 100,000 spoilt votes. ... Mr Alexander also warned MPs against believing reports of 100,000 spoilt ballot papers, saying a final tally had yet to be established. ... And he insisted that none of the simulations with new electronic counting machines had thrown up the sort of delays and problems exposed on Thursday night.

House of Commons debate Scottish Parliamentary Elections 23 May 2007

...After the elections on 3 May, I came to the House at the first available opportunity to make a statement on the conduct of the elections in the light of public concern. In that statement, I set out in detail the problems that occurred and the issues that needed to be addressed. Briefly, they are: delays in the sending out of postal ballots; difficulties with some of the electronic counting machines; the unacceptably high number of rejected ballot papers; and the decision to hold the two elections on the same day, especially given the new arrangements for local authority elections. Those matters are now being investigated by Mr. Gould and his team

The Times Confused? You’re not alone . . . 100,000 people lose their vote 5 May 2007

Douglas Alexander, who as well as being Transport Secretary doubles as Scotland Secretary, has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the Scottish elections. Last night his aides were pointing out that it had been a Scottish Executive decision to hold the two elections on the same day.

The Scotland Office E-Counting to be used in 2007 Elections 9 June 2006

"With changes taking place and the complexity of voting systems we should be making the voting process as straight forward as possible. All the voter should have to think about is which party’s policies meet their wishes. They shouldn’t have to worry about how to fill out the ballot paper That is why I want a single ballot paper for the Scottish Parliament elections – removing any confusion that a vote on the regional list is less important, or a second choice."
"I am also announcing today that electronic counting will be used for the Scottish Parliament ballot papers and that overnight counting will remain, with results out by the next day as usual."

Speech at the Conference on Democracy in the Information Age 25 October 2001

Introducing electronic voting is mainly a question of offering a package of electronic services (such as online voting, registration, postal vote application) in line with other online service initiatives. Of course there are policy questions to consider as well, such as authentication and security, but in broad terms, the act of casting and counting a vote can be considered the "service" element of the democratic process.
Secure online communications are crucial if citizens are to accept them as a means of democratic participation. Of course this is vital when we consider electronic voting and before any electronic voting system can be established, we must ensure that the it meets security standards at least as high as current manual systems.

While the 'e-minister', Douglas Alexander, urged the government to allow voting over the internet. 2002


"Inclusive access to the Internet is a fundamental e-democracy issue. If the Internet is to become a new democratic tool, through which people can participate in the democratic process and influence events, it is vital that everyone who wants it - irrespective of age, gender, occupation, income, or geographical location - has access to it and the skills and confidence to use it."

Open Source

Home Office minister Douglas Alexander said 2002

"I am pleased to announce new policy on the use of Open Source Software within UK Government. It explains how we will consider Open Source Software solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements and award contracts on a value for money basis, seeking to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services."


Soon after taking his post as e-minister he argued successfully in Europe in favour of Spam. Saying that people receiving spam should have to send emails to the spammers asking them to stop rather than the default situation being that the spammers had to gain permission before sending spam. As you can imagine this position upset a lot of people.



2007-07-18 - The Guardian - 'Big Brother' plan for police to use new road cameras
Author: Alan Travi
Summary: "Big Brother" plans to automatically hand the police details of the daily journeys of millions of motorists tracked by road pricing cameras across the country were inadvertently disclosed by the Home Office last night. ... Douglas Alexander, who was transport secretary until three weeks ago, told the Home Office the bulk transfer of data to the police was out of proportion to the problem and "might be seen as colouring the debate about road charging (that material being collected for traffic purposes is being used for other outcomes)".
2007-05-08 - The Guardian - SNP demands Alexander's resignation
Author: Matthew Tempest
Summary: The SNP called on the Scottish secretary, Douglas Alexander, to resign today over the chaos that engulfed last week's Holyrood elections and led to more than 100,000 spoilt votes. ... Mr Alexander also warned MPs against believing reports of 100,000 spoilt ballot papers, saying a final tally had yet to be established. ... And he insisted that none of the simulations with new electronic counting machines had thrown up the sort of delays and problems exposed on Thursday night.
2005-03-03 - The Register - Minister confirms commitment to broadband
Author: Guy Kewney
Summary: ... His experience, he insisted, was revealing: "I worked with Douglas Alexander when he was the e-commerce Minister (after the last election) and I did many seminars with him. It is interesting, four years on, to look at what we were being urged to do, and see what actually happened. For example, we spent £9m, I think, on rural broadband pilot schemes at that stage. We were testing everything from sending data over electricity wires, and wireless, and various types of wireless, including satellite wireless." He clearly regarded some of the experiments as failures.
2004-05-26 - The Register - Accenture boss appointed UK e-envoy
Author: John Oates
Summary: Ian Watmore, UK MD of Accenture, has been made new head of e-government for the UK. He will be responsible for making savings and improving the electronic delivery of government services and replaces Andrew Pinder as the UK's e-envoy. ... Watmore described the job as one of the biggest and most challenging in the UK. He has worked for Accenture since 1980. Watmore will report to Cabinet Office minister Douglas Alexander and Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull.
2003-12-15 - The Register - E-envoy gets the chop
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The UK Government's post of "e-envoy", currently held by Andrew Pinder, is to be ditched and replaced with a new job - "Head of e-Government". ... Douglas Alexander, Minister for the Cabinet Office, reckons the appointment of a Head of e-Government represents an "evolution in the e-envoy role which will build on the achievements of the last four years". "The Head of e-Government will play a pivotal role in supporting the Prime Minister’s vision for public service reform. Their task will be to focus on ensuring that IT supports the business transformation of Government itself so that we can provide better, more efficient, public services."
2003-11-07 - The Register - Open source not ready for desktop, IBM told UK government
Author: John Lettice
Summary: "Am I right to say that the minister [who was at the time Douglas Alexander] announced in a publication the government's OSS policy in July of last year which sets up a level playing field for procuring such solutions?... You were charged with implementing that policy, yet that was in July 2002 and at the present time you are undertaking a study which is not reporting until 2004. Am I correct?"
2003-11-03 - The Register - New Gov.UK Plans Off to Bad Start
Author: Ian Cuddy
Summary: Whitehall plans to encourage businesses to compete with Government to offer citizens eGov services are to go ahead - despite an official, three-month consultation attracting just one response from the general British public. ... Introducing the report summarising the consultation responses, Cabinet Office Minister Douglas Alexander commented: "There is evidently widespread interest in, and support for, creating a mixed economy in eGovernment service delivery." He added that responses had demonstrated "the need for further clarification and practical guidance" and studying the comments, this is certainly the case.
2003-07-29 - The Register - Civil servants' families could test government websites
Author: Ian Cuddy
Summary: Government web managers needing users to make their websites citizen-friendly should consider recruiting public sector staff or their families as a "cheap alternative" to usability consultancies. The advice is given in the Office of the e-Envoy's long-awaited 'Quality Framework for UK Government Website Design', which was published in its finished state last week by Cabinet Office Minister Douglas Alexander.
2003-07-24 - The Register - e-Envoy's Office loses bearings with Project True North
Author: Ian Cuddy
Summary: A major project by the e-Envoy's Office to set up central data centres to host the UK's most critical eGovernment systems is understood to be in serious difficulties. ... In an ironic twist, Douglas Alexander, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, reassured MPs in the House of Commons last week over concerns that the Government would not provide full information on any 'problems or failures' in the drive towards eGovernment. The Minister told Parliament: "There is little to fear in terms of transparency of the work that we will undertake in relation to the 2005 targets".
2002-09-12 - The Register - BT boss talks up broadband
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The CEO of BT is not one for nostalgia. Any talk of BT's dismal track record on broadband before he joined the company earlier this year is likely to get a prickly response from Ben Verwaayen.... Was it only last September that e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander finally lost his patience with BT and called on the company to "exploit (its broadband) investment more aggressively" in a bid to get Broadband Britain on track? Singling out BT for particular criticism, the minister said BT had a responsibility to drive demand, lower costs and increase availability of broadband.
2002-07-23 - The Register - UK unveils Open Source policy, may make it ‘default’ option
Author: John Lettice
Summary: The UK government yesterday announced its policy on Open Source software, and as far as we can figure out, it seems to be cautiously pro. In answer to a parliamentary question, Home Office minister Douglas Alexander said: "I am pleased to announce new policy on the use of Open Source Software within UK Government. It explains how we will consider Open Source Software solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements and award contracts on a value for money basis, seeking to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services."
2002-05-29 - The Register - UK gets new E-minister
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: E-minister Douglas Alexander has been shunted to the Cabinet Office as part of the Government's reshuffle following yesterday's resignation of Transport Minister Stephen Byers.
2002-04-04 - The Register - UK Govt backs talking fridges
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The UK Government is pledging £20 million to help develop intelligent fridges and conscientious boilers. ... Eminister Douglas Alexander said the virtual Interdisciplinary Research Centre would allow the UK to "maintain its strong lead in high-tech industries" and "bring us closer to mass-market products and services with the potential to improve home security, cut energy consumption and improve quality of life".
2002-03-19 - The Register - UK Govt earmarks £30m spending on broadband
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: Eminister Douglas Alexander today announced a number of schemes designed to take broadband to areas currently not commercially viable for the necessary investment.In a statement Douglas Alexander said: "With the help of this £30 million fund, Regional Development Agencies across the country are embarking on innovative and exciting projects that could have a real impact on the roll-out of broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas where access is currently limited.
2002-02-26 - The Register - Pipex cuts DSL price to under £25 a month
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: Pipex has moved swiftly to cut the cost of its DSL service to less than £25 a month in the wake of today’s news from BT. ... Wayne Lochner, chief exec of Affinity Internet told AFX that this was a "promising first step" and called for wholesale prices to be cut still further to below £10. Mr Lochner’s lukewarm response contrasts sharply to the Government’s response. E-commerce minister, Douglas Alexander, described today’s announcement as "excellent news for consumers and businesses".
2002-01-17 - The Register - Broadband is ‘private sector’ affair – eminister
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: It is up to industry - and not Government - to ensure that Europe capitalises on broadband, according to ecommerce minister Douglas Alexander. Mr Alexander said that access to broadband would be "delivered primarily by market players, and not necessarily by governments". He added: " (The) enduring challenge is now making widespread broadband use a reality. This is both a common challenge being faced by governments and businesses throughout Europe, and a common opportunity."
2002-01-16 - The Register - UK firms urged to join ‘ebiz clubs’
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The Government has teamed up with the private sector to give a much-needed boost to e-commerce in the UK. ... However, e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander denied that any move to get UK businesses online would be undermined by the lack of affordable and widely available broadband services in Britain. He said that broadband remained a "continuing challenge" before adding that he would like to see the cost of high-speed Internet access fall.
2001-12-12 - The Register - E-minister finds his role in Europe
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: E-minister Douglas Alexander has found his niche in Europe - hosting a conference for its most IT-illiterate countries. ... Since taking over the post in May, Mr Alexander has faced some criticism for his phantom-like behaviour. He was even criticised by a PR agency this month for cancelling at very short notice his appearance at an event in Yorkshire where a number of industry figures and IT journalists were expected. Mr Alexander had no knowledge of the Internet economy before being awarded the e-commerce ministerial post for his loyalty to chancellor Gordon Brown. It wasn't until four months later that he made his first public appearance.
2001-12-11 - The Register - Cornwall gets DSL
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: A BT project to roll-out ADSL in Cornwall could become the blueprint for the phased introduction of broadband Net access in rural Britain. ... The project has been welcomed by ecommerce minister Douglas Alexander, who said that UK businesses need to seize the opportunities that new technologies offer if they are to be competitive in the 21st century.
2001-10-26 - PC Advisor - Alexander struggles with e-voting problems
Author: Laura Rohde
Summary: The government's 'e-minister', Douglas Alexander, urged the government yesterday to rethink its policy on allowing voting over the internet, and called on the business and internet communities to work together with the government to make online voting a reality in the near future.
2001-10-25 - The Register - UK Govt calls for e-democracy
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The Government has called upon the IT and Internet communities to come up with new ways to encourage online democracy. In a major announcement today e-commerce minister, Douglas Alexander, said he wanted technology to empower people to give them a voice other than the few seconds they have in the voting booth once every four or five years.
2001-10-11 - The Register - UK level pegging in international ecommerce stakes
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The UK is holding its own in the e-commerce world, according to the International Benchmarking Study 2001. It found that the UK's use of e-commerce was on a par with other countries including Sweden, Canada and Germany. ... In a statement e-minister, Douglas Alexander crowed: "The study confirms we are making progress towards our primary aim of making the UK the best place in the world to do e-business. We have set demanding targets and must continue the e-revolution and help UK business get to the future first. "UK business is feeling the benefits of using technology to improve its communications, efficiency and productivity. The UK continues to be among the world leaders in making more sophisticated use of technology to transform their business processes," he said. ... While the e-minister puffs his chest out at today's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-commissioned report he ignores findings published yesterday by the Communications Management Association (CMA) which found that UK businesses want broadband but can't get it...
2001-10-09 - The Register - UK Govt pledges £30m to broadband
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: That'll be the same £30m it pledged earlier this year then. It seems elusive e-minister - Douglas Alexander - will do anything to up his profile at the moment. Yesterday, he announced that the Government would spend £30 million to "boost the delivery of fast Internet services through broadband technology to all parts of the UK".
2001-10-08 - The Register - NTL unveils hi-speed unmetered Net access
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: NTL has released an unmetered, always-on high-speed Net access service. The E-minister Douglas Alexander, said: "The UK Government welcomes the announcement of this competitively priced new service from NTL. "We are committed to ensuring that more UK consumers should have the opportunity to benefit from fast, always-on, Internet access and this is another step towards that goal."
2001-09-28 - The Register - E-minister tells us where he's been for four months
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: The formerly elusive e-minister Douglas Alexander turned up for the third time this week at the launch of new government Web site, a portal for Internet entrepreneurs. We took the opportunity to ask him where he's been for the last four months and if this sudden flurry of activity was a one-off. "We have got a rolling schedule of work," he told us. "Blah blah blah various initiatives blah blah blah get more broadband blah blah blah the important thing is that we make a difference."
2001-06-26 - The Register - Internet Security: We're all responsible
Author: John Leyden
Summary: Government and business should team up to improve Internet security, e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander said today. "In an interconnected world, there is a collective responsibility to ensure that the entire system is secure," he said. "Increasingly society will view those business who inadvertently spread viruses or act as platforms for denial of service attacks as failing in their duty to both businesses and the wider community."
2001-09-25 - The Register - E-minister calls for lower broadband prices
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The elusive E-Commerce Minister Douglas Alexander today called on the telecoms and Internet industry to cut prices and help stimulate demand for broadband. "We need the industry to be driving prices down, and driving demand up. BT has a particular responsibility here. I welcome the commitment BT has already made to broadband. 60 per cent of all households, some 13 million homes, are now connected to a BT ADSL enabled exchange - that represents a huge investment by BT in broadband Britain." "But BT must now exploit that investment more aggressively," "The challenge for BT is to follow the example of the cable companies in setting fair prices aimed at bringing broadband to the mass market. Not just in their retail offerings, but in wholesale too – so that the 180 resellers of BT's ADSL services can help drive the market." "The challenge for BT is to market effectively the benefits of Broadband Britain to as wide a market as possible." "The challenge for BT is to drive down its cost-base in the local loop, so it can charge the LLU operators more competitive prices for access to its infrastructure." "The challenge for BT is to introduce lower-priced, lower-specification products of the sort which have helped consumers move up the broadband ladder in other countries,"
2001-09-21 - The Register - Where the hell is the e-commerce minister?
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: No one has seen or heard from the e-commerce minister, Douglas Alexander a close member of Gordon Brown's election team, for three months. What has the Minister for E-commerce done since taking his position? Absolutely bugger all.
2001-07-23 - The Register - One month on, what has the UK e-minister done for the Internet?
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: It's been over a month now since the new e-minister Douglas Alexander took his post as junior minister in the DTI. Seeing as the government has repeatedly told us how important the Internet and e-commerce is to its plans, and accounting for suggestions that Mr Alexander was little more than a political posting by chancellor Gordon Brown in return for his help in the election, we thought we'd review his performance so far. ... And so in answer to the question: what has the new e-minister done regarding the Internet in the first month of office? The answer is nothing at all.
2001-06-29 - The Register - UK Govt's stand on spam provokes angry backlash
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The British Government's decision to defend spam has caused outrage among El Reg readers. Yesterday we reported how the UK forged an alliance with France to defend the right for Net users to have to pay for the displeasure of receiving porn, scams, hoaxes, and other dubious "business" propositions via their in-box. The feeling among readers - with one exception who backed the Government's stand - is that if e-minister Douglas Alexander is so keen on spam, he won't mind receiving it.
2001-06-28 - The Register - UK Govt protects right to spam
Author: Tim Richardson
Summary: The Government, it seems, is happy for Net users to be bombarded with junk email containing all manner of pornographic filth, scams, frauds, deceptions and get-rich-quick schemes that prey on the vulnerable. At a meeting yesterday in Luxembourg, Douglas Alexander got his first big outing as Britain's new e-minister. So what's his first task? That's right, argue that unsolicited commercial email is good for business, good for the development of the Internet, good for e-commerce. He believes people should specify if they don't want to receive junk email. Funny, since a majority of European countries favour an "opt in" approach - a scheme which would mean users would receive commercial email only if they requested it.
2001-06-12 - The Register - Blair's hired the wrong e-minister by mistake!
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: Tony Blair has made a terrible error in hiring Douglas Alexander as e-minister - he actually meant to hire Douglas' sister Wendy. That at least can be the only explanation as to why Douglas was given the high-ranking job when he knows next to nothing about the Internet, while his sister Wendy, four years his senior, holds the post of e-minister in the Scottish Parliament. How embarrassing.
2001-06-12 - The Register - Douglas Alexander is the new e-minister
Author: Kieren McCarthy
Summary: The new e-minister has been named and it's the MP for the safe seat of Paisley South, Scotland, Douglas Alexander. Who the hell is he you ask? More importantly, what does he know about the Internet? ... It would appear not very much. He hasn't been involved in IT or the Internet in any form, either in his professional life before Parliament or while at Parliament.