He grew up in Clydebank, and began working from the age of 16. He studied Business Administration at the Glasgow College of Food Technology, now City of Glasgow College and subsequently obtained a degree in Politics from the University of Essex and a master's degree at the Glasgow School of Art. On finishing his studies he worked for the West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services (WDCVS).
In February 2016 he was included in the Independent on Sunday's photograph of 28 LGBT MPs and peers.
- "Something of an extrovert, the SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire arrived at this photoshoot asking, loudly, 'Where are the gays?'”
- http://www.thenational.scot/politics/meet-your-new-scottish-mps-19-martin-docherty-west-dunbartonshire.3698 Martin Hannah, "Meet your new Scottish MPs: #19 Martin Docherty West Dunbartonshire" |The National, 4 June 2015
- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gay-mps-the-photograph-that-shows-westminsters-attitude-towards-lgbt-politicians-is-changing-a6886771.html Mark Leftly, "Gay MPs: The photograph that shows Westminster's attitude towards LGBT politicians is changing", 20 February 2016