Cathy Jamieson: Wikis


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Cathy Jamieson MSP

In office
28 June 2008 – 13 September 2008
Preceded by Wendy Alexander
Succeeded by Iain Gray

In office
17 May 2007 – 28 June 2008
Leader Wendy Alexander

Assumed office 
6 May 1999
Preceded by new constituency
Majority 3,986 (11.8%)

Born 3 November 1956 (1956-11-03) (age 53)
Kilmarnock, Scotland
Political party Scottish Labour Co-operative

Cathy Jamieson, (born 3 November 1956, Kilmarnock) has previously been Deputy Leader and Acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party,[1] former Minister for Justice in the Scottish Executive, and Labour Co-operative Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley. She is now Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing for Labour in the Scottish Parliament.

She became an 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.



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 and has one son, and has also stated that she is vegan.[2]

Member of the Scottish Parliament

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.[3]

Minister for Education and Children

In 2001, Jack McConnell became First Minister and Jamieson was appointed Minister for Education and Young People in the subsequent cabinet shake-up [4]. She successfully shepherded the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act through the Parliament - legislation which set up a list of people unsuitable to work with children [5], to be maintained by Disclosure Scotland.

During her tenure as education minister Jamieson also reformed the Scottish Qualifications Authority to reduce bureaucracy [6] and commenced the largest school building programme seen in Scotland [7]. 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 did not take any action. [8]

Minister for Justice

Jamieson was appointed Minister for Justice following the 2003 elections[9]. 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.[10] 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.[11]

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. Four days following the transfer, Reliance accidentally released a convicted killer at Hamilton Sheriff Court.[12] Jamieson later criticised Reliance and their security methods, but defended the principle of using a private company to transfer prisoners.[13] 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"[14]

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,[15] although the reported effect was that Buckfast sales had actually increased substantially in the months following her comments.[16] On a subsequent visit to Auchinleck, a town within her constituency, she faced an impromptu demonstration by teenagers chanting "Don't ban Buckie".[17]

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"[18]. She referred to such material as "abhorrent"[19] 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[20] and was selected as Labour's appointment to the Parliamentary Bureau.

After Jack McConnell's resignation as Scottish Labour Leader on August 15, Jamieson was acting leader until September 14, 2007, when Wendy Alexander took over the leadership who appointed Jamieson as her deputy but without a portfolio spokesperson's role.[21]


On 29 July 2008 Jamieson announced her intention to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership. After the contest [22] with candidates Iain Gray and Andy Kerr, Jamieson came second to Gray during the election night on 13 September 2008.[23] On the 16th of September Gray announced the appointment of Jamieson as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.[24]


  1. ^ "Cathy Jamieson was acting leader of the Labour in the Scottish Parliament from Wendy Alexander's resignation to the election of Iain Gray.". Scottish Labour Party. Retrieved 2008-06-28.  
  2. ^ Will Cathy Jamieson resign as justice minister? 'As long as I've got | Sunday Herald, The | Find Articles at
  3. ^ 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.  
  4. ^ "McConnell in radical cabinet shake-up". BBC News. 2001-11-27.  
  5. ^ Child protection measures passed
  6. ^ Pledge to reduce exams burden
  7. ^ Parties do battle over schools
  8. ^ "McConnell angry at fire row". BBC News. 2002-11-29.  
  9. ^ "McConnell's cabinet: At-a-glance". BBC News. 2003-05-20.  
  10. ^ Gray, Louise (2005-02-23). "Justice Minister: my nephew is a jailed killer". The Scotsman.  
  11. ^ "McConnell backs justice minister". BBC News. 2005-02-23.  
  12. ^ "Probe into murderer release error". BBC News. 2004-04-08.  
  13. ^ "Escort firm 'underestimated' task". BBC News. 2004-04-21.  
  14. ^ "Jamieson faces resignation calls". BBC News. 2004-04-21.  
  15. ^ Macmahon, Peter (2005-02-14). "Legal threat won't deter Jamieson in her bid to ban Buckfast". The Scotsman.  
  16. ^ Macmillan, Arthur (2005-05-08). "Buckfast sales surge after Jamieson appeal for ban". The Scotsman.  
  17. ^ Cowing, Emma (2006-10-31). "The monks tonic that threatens to seduce a generation of Scots". The Scotsman.  
  18. ^ Consultation on the possession of extreme pornographic material | Home Office
  19. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Ban on violent net porn planned
  20. ^ "Front bench return for Alexander". BBC News. 2007-05-18.  
  21. ^ "Ex-ministers out of Labour team". BBC News. 2007-09-17.  
  22. ^ Labour hopefuls detail priorities
  23. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Jamieson launches leadership bid
  24. ^ "Labour frontline team announced". BBC News. 2008-09-16.  

External links

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
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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