He is the SNP's spokesperson for Transport, for Tourism, for Fishing, Food and Rural Affairs and for Scotland Office matters.
Early lifeMacNeil was educated at Castlebay Secondary School, Barra, and the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, before graduating from Strathclyde University in 1992. He played shinty whilst at university.
CareerHe worked as an engineer and as a reporter for BBC Radio Scotland before qualifying as a teacher in 1996 at Jordanhill College. His first post as a primary teacher was at Salen Primary School where he taught the first Gaelic Medium Class on the Isle of Mull.
He was elected in the 2005 general election, defeating Calum MacDonald of the Labour Party.
In March 2006, MacNeil came to widespread public attention after lodging a formal complaint with the Metropolitan Police regarding the Labour Party Cash for Peerages scandal. In April 2006, he and former "anti-corruption" MP Martin Bell wrote to prime minister, Tony Blair calling for all appointments to the House of Lords to be suspended in the wake of the scandal.
In November 2006 he won the Best Scot at Westminster section of the Scottish Politician of the Year awards for instigating the inquiry into possible abuse of the honours system.
In 2007, the Sunday Mail reported MacNeil had "kissed and fondled" two girls aged 17 and 18 in a hotel room in 2005. Mr MacNeil said he bitterly regretted the incident and said he was angry it had diverted attention from the "substantial political issues" he had been pursuing. In a statement, MacNeil, then 36, apologised for the "embarrassment and hurt" caused to his family by his actions.
He also received awards from the Spectator Magazine and the Political Studies Society for setting the political agenda in in Britain during 2006
He is a member of the editorial board for political monthly Total Politics.
MacNeil was re-elected to Parliament in 2010.