Politician and journalist. Born in Dunoon, Wilson was educated at Dunoon Grammar School, Dundee University and University College, Cardiff. He became a campaigning journalist and went on to found the West Highland Free Press.
He was elected as Member of Parliament for Cunninghame North (North Ayrshire) in 1987. Wilson became Opposition front bench spokesman on Scottish Affairs (1988-92); on transport (1992-94 and 1995-97); and on trade and industry (1994-95). Wilson was appointed Minister of State at the Scottish Office, with responsibility for Education and Industry, in the 1997 Labour government. He went on to become Minister for Trade at the Department of Trade and Industry. Following the creation of the Scottish Parliament (1999), Wilson was appointed Minister of State at the new Scotland Office, which has responsibility for the execution in Scotland of the powers reserved by the UK government. He stood down from Parliament in 2005, going on to work in the energy sector, while also accepting a Visiting Professorship in Media and Government at Glasgow Caledonian University (2008) and continuing to write regularly for various newspapers. In 2007, he was involved in the purchase of a Harris Tweed mill at Shawbost (Lewis) ensuring a role in the complex debate over the future of the fabric.