Brian Wilson, who is chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, has been awarded CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Brian, whom was recently 71, was MP for Cunninghame North from 1987 until 2005 and served as a Minister of State in the UK Government from 1997 to 2003 – holding various positions including Trade, Industry and Africa.

Brian played a pivotal role in the creation of Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides from the industrial debris left by the previous generation of tweed manufacturers and hence the creation of the modern, worldwide version of the industry.  

The award was "for services to business and charity in Scotland".  His best-known business involvement in the islands is as chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides while he continues to be a member of the UK Government's Board of Trade and has written an influential report on Scottish exporting. 

Harris Tweed Hebrides was founded in 2007 at a time when the industry was in crisis by Brian, who became chairman, Ian Angus Mackenzie as chief executive - a role he had previously held at the Harris Tweed Authority - and Ian Taylor as the main investor.

Brian said: "Insofar as the award relates to Harris Tweed Hebrides, I certainly see it as being recognition for the whole company rather than me as an individual.  On my own, I could have delivered nothing but as a team we have worked well.

"I turned down the Lords when I was coming out of politics and would not have taken this if it had been political, but I asked a few close friends and family whose unanimous view was I should accept it. I suppose it is recognition for a lot of things I have been involved in promoting over the years, and I appreciate that".

Brian was named Global Director of the Year at the Institute of Directors Scottish awards ceremony in February 2011. He was then named UK Global Director of the Year at IoD Awards in September 2011.  These were both for his work with HTH.

Brian is also a director of Celtic Football Club and Visiting Professor in the International Public Policy Institute at the University of Strathclyde. 

Brian was born in 1948 in Dunoon. He studied at the University of Dundee and University College, Cardiff - where he was one of the first intake of 16 to the first postgraduate journalism course in the UK.

Brian was the founding editor and publisher of the West Highland Free Press which he established along with three friends from Dundee University.