Jim Murphy

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This article is about the UK politician. For other people named Jim Murphy, see Jim Murphy (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy.jpg
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Assumed office
13 December 2014
Deputy Kezia Dugdale
Preceded by Johann Lamont
Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
3 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Des Browne
Succeeded by Danny Alexander
Minister of State for Europe
In office
28 June 2007 – 3 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Geoff Hoon
Succeeded by Caroline Flint
Member of Parliament
for East Renfrewshire
Eastwood (1997–2005)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Allan Stewart
Majority 10,420 (20.4%)
Personal details
Born James Francis Murphy
(1967-08-23) 23 August 1967 (age 47)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Scottish Labour Party
Spouse(s) Claire Murphy
Children 2 sons
1 daughter
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]
Website www.jimmurphymp.com

James Francis Murphy[2] (born 23 August 1967) is a Scottish Labour Party politician who is currently the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party and the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Renfrewshire. He previously served as Secretary of State for Scotland in the Cabinet from 2008 to 2010. Prior to this, he was the Minister of State for Europe from 2007 to 2008, the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform from 2006 to 2007 and the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 2005 to 2006.

Early life[edit]

Murphy was born in Glasgow and raised in a flat in the Arden. He was educated at St. Robert Bellarmine School in Glasgow until 1979, when he and his family emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa, after his father became unemployed. In Cape Town, he attended Milnerton High School.

In 1985, Murphy returned to Scotland aged 18 to avoid having to serve in the South African Defence Force.[3] He studied Politics and European Law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He was a student at Strathclyde for 9 years, but did not graduate from the university.[4][5]

Early career[edit]

During his time at university he was elected President of the Scottish National Union of Students, one of the "special region" organisations within the NUS, serving from 1992 until 1994. Murphy then took a further sabbatical from university in 1994 to serve as the President of the National Union of Students, an office which he held from 1994 to 1996, during which time he was a member of Labour Students. As NUS President, he also served concurrently as a Director of Endsleigh Insurance from 1994 to 1996.[5]

In 1995, the NUS dropped its opposition to the abolition of the student grant. This was in line with what had become Labour Party policy, but was contrary to the policy that had been agreed at that year's NUS Conference in Derby.[6] He was subsequently condemned by a House of Commons Early Day Motion, introduced by Ken Livingstone and signed by 17 other Labour MPs, for "intolerant and dictatorial behaviour".[7]

In 1996, upon ceasing to be NUS President, Murphy was offered a position as the Special Projects Manager of the Scottish Labour Party; he accepted the role, dropping out of university in order to do so. He was also selected at this time to stand as the Labour Party candidate in the seat of Eastwood at the forthcoming general election.[8]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Murphy was unexpectedly elected as MP for Eastwood at the 1997 general election on 1 May, winning the formerly safe Conservative seat with a majority of 3,236 as Scotland's youngest MP.[9][10] From 1999 to 2001, he was a member of the Public Accounts Select Committee, which oversees public expenditure.[11] In February 2001, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Helen Liddell, the Secretary of State for Scotland, after the resignation of Frank Roy over the Carfin Grotto fiasco.[12] Upon becoming a PPS, he stood down from his previous other roles as the Vice Chair of the Labour Party's Treasury, Northern Ireland and Culture, Media and Sport Committees.

At the 2001 general election he was re-elected as MP for Eastwood, with an increased majority of 9,141.[13] In June 2002, he was appointed as a government whip, with responsibility for the Scotland Office and the Northern Ireland Office. His responsibilities were expanded in November 2002 to also cover the Department of Trade and Industry, and again in June 2003 to cover the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development. He was also the Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel from 2001 to 2002.[14] He is a member of the Henry Jackson Society's Political Council.[15]

For the 2005 general election, the Eastwood constituency was renamed East Renfrewshire, although the boundaries were unchanged. Murphy was re-elected to the newly named seat with a majority of 6,657 and subsequently promoted to ministerial rank as the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office.[16] His responsibilities in that role included the promotion of e-government, better regulation and modernising public services. He was promoted in May 2006 to become the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, and again in June 2007 when he was appointed Minister of State for Europe.

In October 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Murphy to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland, with additional responsibility for retaining Scottish seats at the next general election. At the 2010 general election, the Labour Party held every seat they had won in Scotland in 2005, although they lost the election overall. Murphy was subsequently one of the two campaign managers for David Miliband's failed bid for the leadership of the Labour Party, along with Douglas Alexander. Following the election of Ed Miliband, Murphy was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Defence on 8 October 2010. In this role Murphy criticised moves to boycott the state of Israel.[14]

In 2011, The Daily Telegraph published documents, compiled by a senior US official at the US Embassy in London and published by WikiLeaks, stating that throughout 2009, Murphy was in charge of organising a coalition of Unionist parties whose aim was to "block an independence referendum" in Scotland.[17][18]

Murphy claimed over £1 million in expenses between 2001 and 2012 – an amount which included £3,900 on food in 2007/08; £2,284 in petty cash; a TV for £249 + £99 for a stand; his website for £1,762.50; and a new bathroom £4,884 (although he was forced to pay back £3,399 for the latter).

In 2012 Murphy was among a group of MPs named as benefiting from up to £20,000 per year expenses to rent accommodation in London, at the same time as letting out property they owned in the city. He also designated his constituency home in Glasgow as his second home for which he claimed £780 a month in mortgage interest payments in 2007/8 [19] On 3 July 2013, Murphy criticised the Unite trade union for "bullying" and "overstepping the mark" for allegedly interfering with the selection of a candidate in Falkirk.[20] A Labour Party investigation later cleared Unite of any wrongdoing.[21] Later that year, Murphy was demoted to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]

Murphy co-chaired the review of the Labour Party in Scotland with Sarah Boyack, commissioned by Ed Miliband in May 2011, which reported in late 2011.

Murphy was passing near to the Clutha Pub in Stockwell Street in Glasgow on the night of 29 November 2013, shortly after a Police Scotland helicopter crashed onto the roof of the pub, killing 10 people and injuring 31 others. He was later interviewed in bloodstained clothes after participating in the rescue efforts.[30] In April 2014, he was appointed an honorary patron of Armed Forces Legal Action (AFLA), a network of UK law firms committed to offering discounted legal services to members of the UK Armed Forces. AFLA was founded by solicitor Allan Steele, who had previously stood against Murphy as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the 2001 election.[31]

Following the resignation of Johann Lamont as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party on 24 October 2014, Murphy announced that he would be a candidate in the election to replace her.[32] He resigned from the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet in November 2014.[33]

Leader of the Scottish Labour Party[edit]

On 13 December 2014, Murphy was elected as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, having secured 55.77% of the vote under the party's electoral college system.[34]

Scottish independence referendum campaign[edit]

During the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Jim Murphy gained prominence in the media for his role in the "No" campaign, due to his “100 Streets in 100 Days” tour, which saw him hold street-corner meetings across Scotland standing on an Irn-Bru crate to address the public in an attempt to convince them to vote against Scottish independence.[35][36]

Murphy suspended the tour on 28 August 2014, after an egg was thrown at him by a member of the public in Kirkcaldy. Murphy claimed that this was the result of an orchestrated attack by mobs of protesters organised by the Yes Scotland campaign in a deliberate attempt to intimidate him, stating: "In the past 10 days or so, the Yes Scotland campaign has organised mobs to turn up at every meeting that I'm taking part in to try and silence undecided voters and to try and intimidate me".[37][38] The man responsible was a local resident who was a supporter of Scottish independence, who alleged that Jim Murphy had not answered a question asked of him. Pleading guilty to assault, he denied being part of an official Yes Scotland campaign of intimidation.[39]


Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act[edit]

In January 2006, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, Jim Murphy was the government minister responsible for introducing the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 in the House of Commons. The Act was and remains very controversial, because of a perception that it is an Enabling Act substantially removing the ancient British constitutional restriction on the Executive introducing and altering laws without assent or scrutiny by Parliament, and it has been called the "Abolition of Parliament Act".[40][41]

The Act has been criticised heavily in articles and correspondence published in the press. In The Times, journalist Daniel Finkelstein dubbed it the "Bill to End All Bills",[40] and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament David Howarth called it the "Abolition of Parliament Bill".[41] The Green Party passed a motion at their conference against the Bill, saying "the Bill threatens to shatter the foundations of democracy".[42]

Parliamentary expenses[edit]

Jim Murphy was at the centre of an expenses row in 2012 when it emerged he was among 27 MPs who were letting out London homes at the same time as claiming public money to rent in the city. Although the practice did not break rules, it has been characterised as a "loophole" that allows politicians to profit from Commons allowances.[19] Murphy had previously apologised "on behalf of all politicians" for the expenses scandal in 2009.[43] Between 2007 and 2008 he designated his constituency home in East Renfrewshire as his second home for which he claimed £780 a month in mortgage interest payments.

In 2010, a commission chaired by Sir Thomas Legg demanded Murphy repay £577.46 in expenses which he had fraudulently claimed. He did not appeal the decision and repaid the stolen money in full.[44]

Scottish Labour Leadership claims[edit]

The Guardian’s Kevin McKenna has argued that Jim Murphy’s tour during the Scottish 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign "wasn’t really about his new-found enthusiasm for the union... [but] was, instead, a three-month job interview for the post of leader of the Labour party in Scotland.[45]

When Johann Lamont resigned as leader of the Scottish Labour Party on 24 October 2014, Scottish Labour MP Ian Davidson said that Murphy's allies had "conducted a whispering campaign against her" and that "we are in the middle of a coup".[46]

Henry Jackson Society membership[edit]

In January 2015, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Greens called on Murphy to resign from the Henry Jackson Society, a right-wing think tank named in honour of Cold War anti-communist US Senator Henry M. Jackson and closely associated with the American neoconservative movement in the George W. Bush administration.[47]

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: "Jim Murphy should consider his position as an adviser to this right-wing, neo-con organisation - it is an extraordinary role for a Labour leader in Scotland to be in, and a huge embarrassment to his party."[48]

Personal life[edit]

Jim Murphy is married to Claire (née Cook),[8] a primary school teacher; they have three children. He is a season ticket holder at Celtic Football Club, and captains the Parliamentary Football Team.[49][50] He is a vegetarian[51][52] and teetotal.[53]


  1. ^ "BBC News". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Daily Hansard - Debate". UK Parliament Website. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Faces of NUS Scotland past". Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Mandy Rhodes (February 2010). "Interview: Jim Murphy". Holyrood Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. He enrolled at Strathclyde University where he became politically active and was elected President of the National Union of Students. He did not finish his degree. 
  5. ^ a b Murphy, James. Who's Who (Dec 2013 online ed.). A & C Black an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  6. ^ “We are campaigning for the enrichment of life” – Tony Benn makes the case for free education — National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  7. ^ "Early day motion 991, 1995 - 1996 Session". UK Parliament. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Frost's Scottish Who's Who - Jim Murphy
  9. ^ "UK general election result, May 1997: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  10. ^ Hélène Mulholland (3 October 2008). "Profile: Jim Murphy". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  11. ^ The Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, The Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP Profile
  12. ^ "Ahern row MP quits as aide". BBC. 11 February 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  13. ^ "UK general election result, June 2001: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  14. ^ a b "Jim Murphy: Labour still loves Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Advisory Council - Political Council members". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "UK general election result, May 2005: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  17. ^ "Scotland: Independence Referendum Not Moving Forward In January". The Daily Telegraph (London). 4 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "US embassy cable - 10LONDON126 (original version)". Cables.mrkva.eu. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Jim Murphy named among 27 MPs in new expenses row". Herald Scotland. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  20. ^ Murphy says Unite “well and truly overstepped the mark” in Falkirk West; accessed 5 March 2014.
  21. ^ Unite cleared over Labour vote-rigging row; accessed 5 March 2014.
  22. ^ Maddox, David (8 October 2013). "Scotsman.com- "Doubts over Trident as Jim Murphy is demoted "". Thescotsman.scotsman.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Hodges, Dan (9 October 2013). "telegraph.co.uk- "Ed Miliband and the strange case of the Vanishing Blairites "". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Wintour, Patrick (7 October 2013). "theguardian.com- "Labour reshuffle: a victory for talent or purge of the Blairites?"". theguardian.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (8 October 2013). "huffingtonpost.co.uk- " Mehdi's Morning Memo: 'Twilight Of The Blairites'?". huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  26. ^ Doubts over Trident as Jim Murphy is demoted, The Scotsman; accessed 5 March 2014.
  27. ^ Labour's modernisers lose out to high-flying intake, FT.com; accessed 5 March 2014.
  28. ^ Ed Miliband axes Blairites from his shadow cabinet, The Telegraph; accessed 5 March 2014.
  29. ^ Labour reshuffle: Rachel Reeves promoted to shadow work and pensions secretary, bbc.co.uk; accessed 5 March 2014.
  30. ^ Eyewitnesses give accounts of Glasgow pub police helicopter crash, news.stv.tv; accessed 5 March 2014.
  31. ^ "AFLA". AFLA. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Murphy announces leadership candidacy". Herald Scotland. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  33. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-29870846
  34. ^ "MP Jim Murphy named Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  35. ^ http://www.scotsman.com/scottish-independence/jim-murphy-on-100-towns-100-days/
  36. ^ Black, Andrew (13 December 2014). "Profile: Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  37. ^ http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/jim-murphy-suspends-referendum-tour-after-egging-1-3524774
  38. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28986714
  39. ^ http://news.stv.tv/east-central/290908-stuart-mackenzie-threw-eggs-at-labour-mp-jim-murphy-in-kirkcaldy/
  40. ^ a b How I woke up to a nightmare plot to steal centuries of law and liberty, The Times, 15 February 2006.
  41. ^ a b Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill?, The Times, 21 February 2006.
  42. ^ "Greens attack "Abolition of Parliament" Bill". Green Party of England and Wales. 18 March 2006. Archived from the original on 8 Jun 2011. 
  43. ^ "Jim Murphy apologises for expenses scandal". 20 April 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  44. ^ "Full list of MPs' expenses repayments". 4 February 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  45. ^ "Labour in Scotland is dying. Does anybody care?". The Guardian. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  46. ^ "Lamont was the victim of a Murphy coup, claims Labour MP". Herald Scotland. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  47. ^ "Scottish Labour leader urged to cut links with right-wing think tank". Herald Scotland. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  48. ^ "Murphy in Henry Jackson Society "unacceptable"". Scottish National Party. 4 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Jim Murphy Bio". Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  50. ^ "Jim Murphy". Youth Football Scotland. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  51. ^ Summers, Deborah (7 November 2008). "Labour's Jim Murphy boosts the Gordon Brown bounce | Politics | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  52. ^ "Knowing me knowing… Jim Murphy". Labour-uncut.co.uk. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  53. ^ "Putting the fizz back into the 'No' campaign?". BBC Online. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 


External links[edit]

Non-profit organisation positions
Preceded by
Lorna Fitzsimons
President of the National Union of Students
Succeeded by
Douglas Trainer
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Allan Stewart
Member of Parliament for Eastwood
Succeeded by
Constituency Abolished
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire
Political offices
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Minister of State for Europe
Succeeded by
Caroline Flint
Preceded by
Des Browne
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Danny Alexander
Party political offices
Preceded by
Johann Lamont
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party