Jim Murphy

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This article is about the UK politician. For the American author, see Jim Murphy (author).
The Right Honourable
Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Assumed office
8 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Ivan Lewis
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
8 October 2010 – 8 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Bob Ainsworth
Succeeded by Vernon Coaker
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 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 (1967-08-23) 23 August 1967 (age 47)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Claire Murphy
Children 2 sons
1 daughter
Alma mater University of Strathclyde (Did not graduate)[1]
Profession None
Religion Roman Catholic[2]
Website www.jimmurphymp.com

James Francis "Jim" Murphy[3] (born 23 August 1967) is a British Labour Party politician who is the current Member of Parliament (MP) for East Renfrewshire and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. He was previously the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence from 2010 to 2013, and from 2008 to 2010 he served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland. Prior to this, he was the Minister 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. Murphy was also the co-chair of the Review of the Labour Party in Scotland, commissioned by Ed Miliband in May 2011.

Early life[edit]

Murphy was born in Glasgow and raised in a two-bedroom flat in the Arden district. He went to St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic school in Glasgow.

In 1979, when he was 12, his family emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa after his father became unemployed. In Cape Town, he went to Milnerton High School.

In 1985, Murphy returned to Scotland at age 18 to study Politics and European Law at the University of Strathclyde, although he did not graduate from the University.[1]

NUS Scotland (1992–1994)[edit]

During his time at university, he was elected President of the National Union of Students Scotland, the Scottish 'special region' organisation within the NUS, in 1992 and served a term of office until 1994.

NUS UK (1994–1996)[edit]

In 1994, Murphy took a sabbatical from university to serve as the President of the National Union of Students, an office which he held from 1994–96, during which time he was a member of Labour Students.

As NUS President, he also served concurrently as Director of Endsleigh Insurance from 1994-1996.

During Murphy's presidency in 1995, the NUS dropped its opposition to the abolition of the student grant in line with the Labour Party's policies, contrary to the agreed policy at the NUS Derby Conference.[4] Subsequently he was condemned by a House of Commons Early Day Motion introduced by Ken Livingstone and signed by 17 Labour MPs for "intolerant and dictatorial behaviour".[5]

Special Projects Manager (1996–1997)[edit]

From 1996-97, he was the Special Projects Manager of the Scottish Labour Party[6]

Member of Parliament[edit]


Murphy ended his term of office with the NUS in 1996 and at the 1997 general election, he was unexpectedly elected as MP for the Eastwood constituency, winning the formerly safe Conservative seat with a majority of 3,236.[7]

From 1999-2001, he was a member of the Public Accounts Committee, which oversees public expenditure.[8] In February 2001, he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Helen Liddell, the Secretary of State for Scotland,[9] after the resignation of Frank Roy over the Carfin grotto fiasco.[10]


At the 2001 general election he was re-elected as MP for Eastwood, with an increased majority of 9,141.[11]

In June 2002, he was appointed as a government whip, with responsibility for the Scotland Office, Scottish Group of Labour MPs and the Northern Ireland Office. His responsibilities were changed in November 2002 to cover the Department of Trade and Industry instead of the Northern Ireland Office, and in June 2003 to cover the Scotland Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Department for International Development.


For the 2005 general election, the Eastwood constituency was renamed East Renfrewshire, although the boundaries were unchanged. Murphy was re-elected with a majority of 6,657[12] and promoted to ministerial rank as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Cabinet Office. His responsibilities included e-government, better regulation and public service modernisation.

He was promoted in May 2006 to Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, with responsibilities including employment, welfare reform and child poverty. In June 2007, he was appointed Minister for Europe. His portfolio included Public Diplomacy.

In an October 2008 cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Murphy as Secretary of State for Scotland. In the 2010 Election Scottish Labour held every seat they'd won in 2005.

In 2011, The Daily Telegraph published documents,[13] compiled by a senior US official at the US Embassy in London and published by WikiLeaks, stating that throughout 2009, Jim Murphy was in charge of organising a coalition of Unionist parties whose aim was to "block an independence referendum" in Scotland.[14]


After Labour lost the May 2010 Election, Murphy shadowed the role of Scottish Secretary until Ed Miliband was elected Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Cabinet Elections could take place. Murphy and Douglas Alexander were the campaign managers for David Miliband's failed bid for the Labour party leadership from 20 May to 25 September 2010. Following the election of Ed Miliband as Leader of the Opposition, in the Shadow Cabinet appointments that followed Murphy was appointed Shadow Defence Secretary on 8 October 2010.

In 2012 Murphy was among a group of Westminster 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.[15]

On 3 July 2013, Murphy criticised the Unite union for "bullying"[16] and "overstepping the mark" for allegedly interfering with the 2013 Labour Party Falkirk candidate selection process.[17] The Labour Party later cleared Unite of any wrongdoing.[18]

On 7 October 2013, Murphy was demoted[19][20][21][22] to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.[23][24][25][26]

Murphy was passing near to the Clutha Bar in Stockwell Street, Glasgow on the night of 29 November 2013, shortly after a Police Scotland helicopter crashed onto the roof of the pub, killing 10 people (including the on-board crew of 3) and injuring 31 others.[27]

Murphy was appointed as an honorary patron of Armed Forces Legal Action (AFLA) in April 2014. AFLA is a network of UK law firms committed to offering discounted legal services to members of the UK Armed Forces. AFLA was founded by Scottish solicitor, Allan Steele, who stood against Murphy as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Westminster Parliamentary election of 2001.[28]

Labour Party Groups[edit]

As a Government Minister, Murphy's membership of these groups was suspended in line with the Ministerial Code.

Murphy is a member of the Henry Jackson Society Advisory Council.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Jim Murphy is married to Claire (née Cook),[6] a primary school teacher; they have three children. Murphy is a season ticket holder at Celtic Football Club, and captains the Parliamentary Football Team.[30][31] He is a vegetarian.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b "Holyrood Magazine". Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "BBC News". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Daily Hansard - Debate". UK Parliament Website. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  4. ^ “We are campaigning for the enrichment of life” – Tony Benn makes the case for free education — National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  5. ^ Early day motion 991, 1995 - 1996 Session
  6. ^ a b Frost's Scottish Who's Who - Jim Murphy
  7. ^ "UK general election result, May 1997: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  8. ^ The Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, The Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP Profile
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Articles
  11. ^ "UK general election result, June 2001: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "UK general election result, May 2005: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  13. ^ "Scotland: Independence Referendum Not Moving Forward In January". The Daily Telegraph (London). 4 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "US embassy cable - 10LONDON126 (original version)". Cables.mrkva.eu. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "Jim Murphy named among 27 MPs in new expenses row". Herald Scotland. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Eddie Barnes: United we flounder Scotland on Sunday 6 July 2013
  17. ^ Murphy says Unite “well and truly overstepped the mark” in Falkirk West; accessed 5 March 2014.
  18. ^ Unite cleared over Labour vote-rigging row; accessed 5 March 2014.
  19. ^ Maddox, David (8 October 2013). "Scotsman.com- "Doubts over Trident as Jim Murphy is demoted "". Thescotsman.scotsman.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ Wintour, Patrick (7 October 2013). "theguardian.com- "Labour reshuffle: a victory for talent or purge of the Blairites?"". theguardian.com. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  22. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (8 October 2013). "huffingtonpost.co.uk- " Mehdi's Morning Memo: 'Twilight Of The Blairites'?". huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Doubts over Trident as Jim Murphy is demoted, The Scotsman; accessed 5 March 2014.
  24. ^ Labour's modernisers lose out to high-flying intake, FT.com; accessed 5 March 2014.
  25. ^ Ed Miliband axes Blairites from his shadow cabinet, The Telegraph; accessed 5 March 2014.
  26. ^ Labour reshuffle: Rachel Reeves promoted to shadow work and pensions secretary, bbc.co.uk; accessed 5 March 2014.
  27. ^ Eyewitnesses give accounts of Glasgow pub police helicopter crash, news.stv.tv; accessed 5 March 2014.
  28. ^ "AFLA". AFLA. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  29. ^ "Advisory Council". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  30. ^ "Jim Murphy Bio". Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  31. ^ "Jim Murphy". Youth Football Scotland. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  32. ^ Summers, Deborah (7 November 2008). "Labour's Jim Murphy boosts the Gordon Brown bounce | Politics | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "Knowing me knowing… Jim Murphy". Labour-uncut.co.uk. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 


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 East Renfrewshire
Eastwood (19972005)

Political offices
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Minister for Europe
Succeeded by
Caroline Flint
Preceded by
Des Browne
Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Danny Alexander
Preceded by
Bob Ainsworth
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
Vernon Coaker
Preceded by
Harriet Harman
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development