Cathy Jamieson

Cathy Jamieson
Shadow Economic Secretary
In office
8 October 2011  7 May 2015
Preceded by David Hanson
Succeeded by Richard Burgon
Member of Parliament
for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
In office
6 May 2010  30 March 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Des Browne
Succeeded by Alan Brown
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
28 June 2008  13 September 2008
Preceded by Wendy Alexander
Succeeded by Iain Gray
Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour
In office
21 October 2000  28 June 2008
Leader Henry McLeish
Jack McConnell
Wendy Alexander
Succeeded by Johann Lamont
Minister for Justice
In office
20 May 2003  16 May 2007
Preceded by Jim Wallace
Succeeded by Kenny MacAskill
Minister for Education and Young People
In office
22 November 2002  20 May 2003
Preceded by Jack McConnell
Succeeded by Peter Peacock
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
In office
6 May 1999  22 March 2011
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Adam Ingram
Majority 3,986 (11.8%)
Personal details
Born Catherine Mary Jamieson
(1956-11-03) 3 November 1956
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Political party Scottish Labour Co-operative
Alma mater Glasgow School of Art
Goldsmiths, University of London

Catherine Mary Jamieson[1] (born 3 November 1956) is a Scottish Labour party politician and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kilmarnock & Loudoun from 2010 to 2015 where her seat was gained by Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate Alan Brown.

Jamieson was the former Minister for Justice in the Scottish Executive, and Labour Co-operative Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley. She became a Labour Co-operative MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon MSP in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, later holding the positions of Minister for Education and Young People in 2001 and then Minister for Justice after the 2003 election until 2007.

Early life and education

Jamieson was educated at James Hamilton Academy in Kilmarnock, before obtaining a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art and a Higher National Diploma in Art at Goldsmiths College in London. After training as an art therapist, Jamieson turned to social work, becoming principal officer of an advocacy organisation for young people in care. She was also a member of the Edinburgh inquiry into abuse in residential care and served on the management and advisory committees of several childcare agencies.

She is married, has one son and has been a vegan since 1996.[2][3]

Political career

Scottish Parliament election, 1999

Jamieson was elected an MSP in the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999. She was elected Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party in 2000 in leadership elections following the death of First Minister Donald Dewar. The position of Deputy Leader was a first for the Scottish party, and Jamieson was elected unopposed.[4]

In 2001, Jack McConnell became First Minister and Jamieson was appointed Minister for Education and Young People in the subsequent cabinet shake-up.[5] She successfully shepherded the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001[6] through the Parliament – legislation which set up a list of people unsuitable to work with children,[7] to be maintained by Disclosure Scotland.[8]

During her tenure as education minister, Jamieson reformed the Scottish Qualifications Authority to reduce bureaucracy,[9] and commenced the largest school building programme seen in Scotland.[10] During the UK-wide fire strike in 2002, Jamieson was criticised for refusing to publicly endorse the Executive's collectively agreed description of the fire strike as "unacceptable", and opposition MSPs called for her to be sacked. However, the First Minister issued a statement of public support for Jamieson and took no action.[11]

Minister for Justice

Jamieson was appointed Minister for Justice following the 2003 elections.[12] During her tenure, in addition to taking a substantial justice legislative programme through parliament (14 bills including reform of courts, protections for vulnerable witnesses, measures on the management of offenders, policing, family law, legal aid, the legal profession and the establishment of the Scottish Commission on Human Rights) she took a leading role on anti-social behaviour, tackling violence and sectarianism and commissioned a major review of Scotland's Civil Justice system.

In February 2005, it was revealed that Jamieson's nephew, Derek Hyslop, tried to blackmail her in 2001 while she was Education Minister. Hyslop was serving a jail sentence for manslaughter, and sent her a Christmas card demanding money, threatening to reveal his criminal convictions if she did not pay him.[13] Jamieson had paid £100 into his bank account in 1999, following the birth of his son, and Hyslop tried to claim that she made the payment to help him evade the police while he was on the run.[14]

One of the major crises to face Jamieson during her time as Minister for Justice, was the scandals occurring after the transfer of prisoner escort duties from the police to a private company, Reliance Security Group. Four days following the transfer, Reliance accidentally released a convicted killer at Hamilton Sheriff Court.[15] Jamieson later criticised Reliance and their security methods, but defended the principle of using a private company to transfer prisoners.[16] Opposition parties later called for her to resign, calls that Jamieson rejected, stating "I think the responsibility on a minister is to ensure that problems are solved... Some people in the face of problems might turn away, might walk away from them. I have no intention of doing that and I never did."[17]

One of the more high-profile campaigns launched by Jamieson was a campaign to ban Buckfast, a tonic wine popular with some underage drinkers in parts of Scotland. She campaigned against shops in her Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency to limit sales of the drink, claiming it was "linked to anti-social behaviour among young people". The distributors of Buckfast later threatened legal action against the Minister, stating it was harming sales,[18] although the reported effect was that Buckfast sales had actually increased substantially in the months following her comments.[19] On a subsequent visit to Auchinleck, a town within her constituency, she faced an impromptu demonstration by teenagers chanting "Don't ban Buckie".[20] In 2005, she co-introduced the joint Scottish Executive and Home Office consultation on criminalising possession of "extreme pornography", which claimed the intention "to reduce the demand for such material and to send a clear message that it has no place in our society".[21] She referred to such material as "abhorrent".[22] The plans have been opposed by groups such as the umbrella group Backlash.

Following the Scottish National Party's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Jamieson was appointed Shadow Minister for Parliamentary Business[23] and was selected as Labour's appointment to the Parliamentary Bureau.

After Jack McConnell's resignation as Scottish Labour Leader on 15 August, Jamieson was acting leader until 14 September 2007, when Wendy Alexander took over the leadership who appointed Jamieson as her deputy but without a portfolio spokesperson's role.[24]

Scottish Labour Leadership contest, 2008

On 29 July 2008 Jamieson announced her intention to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership. After the contest[25] with candidates Iain Gray and Andy Kerr, Jamieson came second to Gray during the election night on 13 September 2008.[26] On 16 September Gray announced the appointment of Jamieson as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.[27]

Jamieson did not seek re-election in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun

Jamieson has been the Member of Parliament for the Kilmarnock and Loudoun (UK Parliament constituency) since 2010, after winning with 24,460 of the vote, a percentage of 52.5%.[28]

Johnnie Walker closure, 2009

Before becoming, and after winning the election as MP for Kilmarnock, Jamieson had to face the announcement from Diageo to pull the historic links with Kilmarnock, after announcing they would be moving the Johnnie Walker company to Fife, ending the 189 year links with brand has had with the town.[29] Before the election, Jamieson had strong criticism towards the SNP-led Scottish Government and its candidate for the Kilmarnock and Loudoun area after the announcement that no money would be coming from the SNP area to help Kilmarnock.[30] On the subject, Jamieson said, as candidate for the area:

"His confirmation that no money will come from the SNP government to help Kilmarnock is a body blow for the local area and everyone who has pulled together on the task force. Alex Salmond was prepared to give money to Diageo so why won’t he commit that same money now to help create new jobs in the area? When our local newspaper described the taskforce as a talking shop, I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt and accept that the SNP were willing to work with other parties. Now that looks like a cruel deception."[30]

After becoming the MP for Kilmarnock, Jamieson still faced the issue of Johnnie Walker closure after it was announced in 2009. In March 2012, the Johnnie Walker factory in Kilmarnock closed its doors for the last time resulting in the loss of more than 700 jobs. On the issue, Jamieson said:

"There is no doubt that this is the end of an era in Kilmarnock and we must always remember the huge contribution that the workforce in Johnnie Walker’s made over the years. The plant was extremely important to the local economy as well as being an iconic building. But we must now look to the future and ensure that the legacy promised by Diageo is delivered, and that the site becomes the focal point for revitalising that part of the town".[31]

Shadow Economic Secretary

Under Ed Miliband, Jamieson was appointed as the Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury within the UK Government. On being appointed, Jamieson said: "I am pleased to be joining the Shadow Treasury Team. Every day we hear more about how people across the country are facing rising costs of living, and the fear of unemployment. We know that the Tory Led Government is cutting too far and too fast, and while their plan is hurting, it simply isn’t working. Labour believes there is a better way to deal with the economy, and we’ve launched our 5 point plan for jobs and growth"[32]

Personal life

Jamieson currently lives in Mauchline with her husband, Ian Sharpe.[33] She is an opponent of the Trident nuclear weapons system and is Secretary of the Westminster Parliamentary CND group.[34]

See also


  1. Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (2010-05-19). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 19 May 2010 (pt 0003)". Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  2. Fraser, Douglas (2004-07-04). "Will Cathy Jamieson resign as justice minister? 'As long as I've got". The Sunday Herald.
  3. Kerry McCarthy MP full transcript (column 898), World Vegan Day, Adjournment Debate, House of Commons, 10.27 pm – 10.56 pm, 1 November 2011.
  4. Birrell, Steven (2002-04-05). "28 Days to select your leader: leadership selection in the Scottish Labour Party" (PDF). Political Studies Association. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  5. "McConnell in radical cabinet shake-up". BBC News. 2001-11-27.
  6. "The Scottish Parliament: – Bills – Bills not in progress (1999–2003)". Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  7. "Child protection measures passed". BBC News. 2003-02-13. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  8. "Informing recruitment decisions through the timely provision of accurate criminal history information and protecting vulnerable groups by preventing unsuitable people from working with them". Disclosure Scotland. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  9. "Pledge to reduce exams burden". BBC News. 2002-05-09. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  10. "Parties do battle over schools". BBC News. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  11. "McConnell angry at fire row". BBC News. 2002-11-29.
  12. "McConnell's cabinet: At-a-glance". BBC News. 2003-05-20.
  13. Gray, Louise (2005-02-23). "Justice Minister: my nephew is a jailed killer". The Scotsman.
  14. "McConnell backs justice minister". BBC News. 2005-02-23.
  15. "Probe into murderer release error". BBC News. 2004-04-08.
  16. "Escort firm 'underestimated' task". BBC News. 2004-04-21.
  17. "Jamieson faces resignation calls". BBC News. 2004-04-21.
  18. Macmahon, Peter (2005-02-14). "Legal threat won't deter Jamieson in her bid to ban Buckfast". The Scotsman.
  19. Macmillan, Arthur (2005-05-08). "Buckfast sales surge after Jamieson appeal for ban". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
  20. Cowing, Emma (2006-10-31). "The monks tonic that threatens to seduce a generation of Scots". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
  21. Consultation on the possession of extreme pornographic material|Home Office Archived 2 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. "Ban on violent net porn planned". BBC News. 2005-08-30. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  23. "Front bench return for Alexander". BBC News. 2007-05-18.
  24. "Ex-ministers out of Labour team". BBC News. 2007-09-17.
  25. "Labour hopefuls detail priorities". BBC News. 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  26. "Jamieson launches leadership bid". BBC News. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  27. "Labour frontline team announced". BBC News. 2008-09-16.
  28. "Cathy Jamieson wins Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency with 52 percent of the vote". BBC News.
  29. "Last Johnnie Walker whisky bottled at Kilmarnock plant". BBC News. 23 March 2012.
  30. 1 2 SNP renege on promise over Johnnie Walker,; accessed 17 June 2014.
  31. Profile,, 1 November 2012; accessed 17 June 2014.
Scottish Parliament
New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley
Succeeded by
Adam Ingram
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Des Browne
Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock & Loudoun
2010 2015
Succeeded by
Alan Brown
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Wallace
Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Kenny MacAskill
(as Cabinet Secretary for Justice)
Preceded by
Jack McConnell
Minister for Education and Young People
Succeeded by
Peter Peacock
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