Christine Grahame

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Christine Grahame
MSP
ChristineGrahameMSP20110510.JPG
Convener of the Scottish Parliament
Justice Committee
Incumbent
Assumed office
14 June 2011
Deputy Jenny Marra
Preceded by John Lamont
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2011
Preceded by Jeremy Purvis
Majority 4924
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for South of Scotland
In office
6 May 1999 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by new parliament
Personal details
Born Christine Grahame
(1944-09-09) 9 September 1944 (age 70)
Burton-on-Trent, England
Political party Scottish National Party
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Website www.christinegrahame.com

Christine Grahame (born 9 September 1944) is a Scottish politician. She has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, having previously been a member for the South of Scotland region, first elected in the 1999 election and subsequently re-elected in 2003 and 2007.

Early life[edit]

Grahame was born on 9 September 1944 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England and brought up in Edinburgh. She attended the University of Edinburgh and, after graduating, worked as a teacher. She later returned to Edinburgh University as a mature student where she earned a law degree, and afterwards she practised as a solicitor.

Political career[edit]

Christine Grahame's office in Galashiels

Grahame joined the Scottish National Party in 1970. Using her married name, Christine Creech, she was the SNP candidate at the 1992 General Election for Tweedale, Ettrick and Lauderdale. In 1994 she stood for election to the European Parliament, again unsuccessfully. At the 1999 Scottish Parliament election she fought Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale again.

Although she finished second, her position on the SNP regional list took her to Holyrood, after which she divorced and reverted to her maiden name. She contested Tweedale, Ettrick and Lauderdale at both the 2003 and 2007 elections, coming within 1,000 votes of victory on both occasions. In 2004, she ran as a candidate for Deputy Leader of the SNP after the resignation of Leader John Swinney propelled Deputy Leader Roseanna Cunningham into the contest to replace him. After the election she was reshuffled from chair of the Scottish Parliament's Health committee to Shadow Minister for Social Justice, generally seen by media commentators as an upwards shift. In June 2005, she was elected Honorary President of the Federation of Student Nationalists.[citation needed]

In 2009, she took up the cause of a National Library of Scotland employee, who had been admonished for placing what NLS management called an "excessive display" of several large saltire and Lion Rampant flags around his workstation[1] calling it "a deliberate assault on our national flag."[2]

In the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, Grahame won the redrawn seat of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, defeating former Liberal Democrat finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis.

Republicanism[edit]

Grahame is a supporter of the political organisation Republic, a campaign to replace the British Monarchy with an elected head of state.[3] In July 2009, Grahame snubbed Elizabeth II by checking her e-mails rather than attending the royal speech at Holyrood to mark the tenth anniversary of Scottish devolution. The move drew critical comment from bloggers as well as from other MSPs, with Lord Foulkes remarking "She has a particular axe to grind here. [...] this is boring for Scotland — she just goes on and on." Former Presiding Officer George Reid described the absence as "sad". However, on the BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland programme, Grahame stated: "I'm earning and working for my constituents far more than if I sit hypocritically in the chamber watching a monarch for an institution I do not support."[4]

Prison visitor[edit]

In May 2009, Grahame visited the man convicted over the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, in Greenock jail. After her visit, she told the press: "I found it quite upsetting. The man is obviously very ill and he is desperate to see his family - absolutely desperate to see his family - so, whatever it takes, that's the priority. He did tell me things I can't discuss with you. But I am absolutely more convinced than ever that there has been a miscarriage of justice."[5] A month later, Grahame arranged a second meeting with the prisoner, Megrahi.[6]

A few days after the dropping of Megrahi's appeal against conviction and his release on compassionate grounds on 20 August 2009, Grahame wrote an op-ed article for The Independent saying she is convinced of his innocence: "He is not a saint, of course – he had a history with Libyan intelligence – but his hands are clean over Lockerbie. For you should recall that five months before the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on that dark, wild December night just before Christmas in 1988, an American military cruiser, the Vincennes, shot down an Iranian passenger plane carrying 290 pilgrims. No one has been charged, let alone prosecuted, over that, even though it was all captured on film."[7]

International inquiry[edit]

On 24 November 2009, Christine Grahame lodged the following motion at the Scottish Parliament: "that the Parliament supports the establishment of an international inquiry into the circumstances that led to the blowing up of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988 that murdered 270 passengers and urges all relevant Scottish authorities to co-operate with it; further supports that such an inquiry should also consider the relationship of that atrocity to the shooting down of Iranian flight 655 over the Straits of Hormuz five months before by a US warship, which claimed the lives of 290 passengers, and urges the international community to pursue, investigate and bring to justice all those ultimately responsible for these two terrorist attacks, which it considers constitute crimes against humanity."[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]