Iain Gray

For other people with similar names, see Ian Gray.
Iain Gray
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
13 June 2015  15 August 2015
Preceded by Jim Murphy
Succeeded by Kezia Dugdale
Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament
In office
13 September 2008  17 December 2011
Deputy Johann Lamont
Preceded by Wendy Alexander
Succeeded by Johann Lamont
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for East Lothian
Assumed office
3 May 2007
Preceded by John Home Robertson
Majority 1,127 (3%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Pentlands
In office
6 May 1999  1 May 2003
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by David McLetchie
Majority 2,885 (7.3%)
Personal details
Born (1957-06-07) 7 June 1957
Edinburgh, Scotland
Citizenship British
Nationality Scottish
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Gil Gray
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Religion Church of Scotland[1]
Website www.iaingraymsp.co.uk

Iain Cumming Gray (born 7 June 1957) is a Scottish politician, currently a Labour Party Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the East Lothian constituency. He was the leader of Scottish Labour in the Scottish Parliament from 13 September 2008 to 17 December 2011. He resigned following his party's defeat in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections but, due to his experience, was selected as interim leader following the resignation of Jim Murphy due to Labour's unsuccessful 2015 General Election campaign when they won one of Scotland's 59 seats.

A former aid worker and teacher of maths and physics, Gray was first elected to the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999 as the MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency, which he lost to the Conservatives in 2003. He was returned to parliament in 2007, for the East Lothian constituency. Following Wendy Alexander's resignation as Scottish Labour leader in 2008, Gray stood in the subsequent leadership election and was successful.

Initially, Gray oversaw some electoral successes for Scottish Labour, such as repelling SNP challenges in the Glenrothes (2008) and Glasgow North East (2009) by-elections, as well as Scottish Labour maintaining all of its 41 constituencies in the House of Commons at the 2010 General Election. The 2011 Scottish Parliament elections proved disastrous for the party, which lost 20 constituencies as the SNP won an outright majority of seats. Gray was re-elected in East Lothian with a majority of 151 votes. Gray announced his resignation the day after the result, but remained in post as leader until his successor, Johann Lamont, took over in December 2011.

In June 2015, Gray was appointed Acting Leader of Scottish Labour whilst a leadership and a deputy leadership election were being simultaneously held, on account of the Deputy Leader, Kezia Dugdale, resigning to run for Leader.[2]

Background and early career

Gray was educated at Inverness Royal Academy[3] and privately at George Watson's College, Edinburgh before studying physics at the University of Edinburgh and training as a maths and physics teacher at Moray House College of Education.[3][4] After graduation he worked as a maths and physics teacher at Gracemount High School in Edinburgh,[5] before a teaching stint in Mozambique.[5] He then spent twelve years as the Campaigns Director for the Scottish arm of the aid charity Oxfam. Gray is a lifelong fan of Edinburgh football club Hibernian,[6] and enjoys reading, music and hill walking.

Gray has been married twice.[7] His first wife, Linda Malloch, divorced him and later married Gray's long-time friend Kevin Dunion, the Scottish Information Commissioner.[8] Gray married his second wife Gill (a part-time constituency secretary to Labour MSP Mary Mulligan) in 1997, with whom he has two step-daughters.[9]

Political career

Iain Gray has stood as a candidate in Lothian Regional Council elections.[10]

In 1999, immediately after his election to Holyrood he was made a deputy minister in the first Scottish Executive under Donald Dewar and following Jack McConnell becoming First Minister in 2001 he was promoted to Minister for Social Justice. After the sudden resignation of Wendy Alexander (following disagreements with McConnell) in 2002,[11] Gray took over her role as Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, where he was responsible for overseeing changes to Scottish higher education.

In the 2003 election, Gray was defeated by Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie, whom he had beaten in 1999. Leaving Holyrood, he went to work as a special adviser under Secretary of State Alistair Darling MP at the Scotland Office in London[12] and initially announced he would not be seeking re-election.

Having subsequently a change of mind, he was selected as the Labour candidate for East Lothian for the 2007 election and subsequently won. Gray was appointed Labour's shadow spokesman for enterprise, energy and tourism upon his return to Parliament.

Following the resignation of Wendy Alexander over a foreign donation scandal,[13] Gray announced in July 2008 that he would stand in the contest to find the next leader of the Labour group in the Scottish Parliament, and was elected to this post in September 2008.[14]

In December 2010, Iain Gray sparked a diplomatic row when he appeared to claim in parliament that Montenegro had been involved in ethnic cleansing and war crimes during the 1990s Balkans Conflict.[15]

On 7 April 2011, while campaigning in Glasgow Central station for the Scottish Parliament Election, Gray was forced to cancel an event due to disruption by a group protesting against public service spending cuts.[16] He quickly left the station and ran into a nearby Subway sandwich shop to escape the protesters, who followed him into the shop and continued to heckle him.[16] Gray later stated that he had not been unsettled by the incident as "I spent two years working in the civil war in Mozambique, I've been to Rwanda two months after the genocide, I walked the killing fields in Cambodia and I was in Chile three days after Pinochet was demitted from office".[17]

Gray held his seat of East Lothian in the 2011 Holyrood election; his majority was the narrowest of his political career – just 151 over the SNP, making the Holyrood seat for the first time a Labour–SNP marginal. He announced on 6 May that he would stand down as leader in the autumn.

Gray was reappointed to the post of Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance in the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet on 29 June 2013.

On 13 June 2015, Gray was appointed Acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party whilst a leadership and a deputy leadership election were simultaneously held, on account of the Deputy Leader, Kezia Dugdale, resigning to run for Leader.[2]


  1. Deveney, Catherine (27 March 2011). "Interview: Iain Gray, Scottish Labour leader". Scotland on Sunday. Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Scottish Labour agree to swathe of party reforms – and new leader will be announced on August 15th". LabourList. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 Wojtas, Olga (10 May 2002). "In the news: Iain Gray". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  4. http://www.iaingray.org.uk/about-iain
  5. 1 2 Mulholland, Helene (8 August 2008). "Scottish Labour leadership: who is running?". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  6. Aitken, Mark (16 January 2011). "Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray reveals how he fell for wife – at the football". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  7. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/history/whisp/whisp-02/wh106-01.htm
  8. Bowditch, Gillian (4 October 2008). "The colourful side of Labours Gray man". The Times. London.
  9. Brady, Brian; Allardyce, Jason; MacLeod, Murdo (28 April 2002). "Politicians keep it in the family while taxpayers pay the price". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  10. "Who's who in the Scottish Cabinet". BBC News. 28 November 2001.
  11. "Profile: Wendy Alexander". The Daily Telegraph. London. 16 August 2007.
  12. http://www.alba.org.uk/scot07constit/s06.html
  13. "Wendy Alexander: Labour's short-lived Scottish leader". The Guardian. London. 28 June 2008.
  14. "Gray becomes Scots Labour leader". bbc.co.uk. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  15. http://www.scotsman.com/news/iain_gray_urged_to_say_sorry_after_ethnic_cleansing_gaffe_sparks_diplomatic_row_1_1523919
  16. 1 2 "Scottish election: Iain Gray targeted by protesters". BBC News. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  17. "Iain Gray seeks refuge in Subway sandwich shop after being confronted by protesters". STV News. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Pentlands
Succeeded by
David McLetchie
Preceded by
John Home Robertson
Member of the Scottish Parliament for East Lothian
Political offices
Preceded by
Wendy Alexander
Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning
Succeeded by
Jim Wallace
Preceded by
Jackie Baillie
Minister for Social Justice
Succeeded by
Margaret Curran
Preceded by
Angus MacKay
Deputy Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Richard Simpson
Preceded by
Office Created
Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care
Succeeded by
Malcolm Chisholm
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wendy Alexander
Leader of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament
Succeeded by
Johann Lamont
Preceded by
Jim Murphy
Acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Succeeded by
Kezia Dugdale
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