James lives in the Cathcart Constituency and has stayed there most of his life.
He joined Glasgow City Council in May 2007 as the elected Member representing the SNP in the new Langside Ward. He served as the Leader of the Opposition in Glasgow City Council from 2008-2011.
James previously stood for the SNP in the Ayr Constituency in 2003 Holyrood election, and Glasgow South West in 2005 Westminster elections. He was elected as the MSP for Glasgow Cathcart in the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election and was subsequently re-elected in 2016.
Before becoming a councillor and an MSP James worked for Stewart Maxwell MSP and during this time was described as a 'key player at the vanguard in the battle to bring about a smoking ban'.
In his 'spare' time, James lists watching football, attending theatre and reading among his hobbies.