John is a former police officer and was a Highlands and Islands MSP from 2011-2021.

He was a member of Holyrood's Justice and Rural Economy committees. He successfully campaigned against deploying armed police to routine incidents, work for which he was awarded “Community Politician of the Year 2014”. He has campaigned against cuts to local education and medical services, police control rooms and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and for public ownership of Calmac Ferries and the railways. He has also pushed for ethical investment of public funds and against ship to ship oil transfers of oil in the Moray Firth.