Jackson Carlaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jackson Carlaw
Official portrait, 2016
Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
In office
29 August 2019 – 30 July 2020[a]
DeputyLiam Kerr
Annie Wells
Preceded byRuth Davidson
Succeeded byDouglas Ross
15 September 2018 – 3 May 2019
Preceded byRuth Davidson
Succeeded byRuth Davidson
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
In office
10 November 2011 – 3 September 2019
LeaderRuth Davidson
Preceded byMurdo Fraser
Succeeded byLiam Kerr
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Eastwood
Assumed office
5 May 2016
Preceded byKen Macintosh
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for West Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
3 May 2007 – 5 May 2016
Scottish Conservative portfolios
2016–2017Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Tourism
2016–2020Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Europe and External Affairs
Personal details
David Jackson Carlaw

(1959-04-12) 12 April 1959 (age 65)
Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, Scotland
Political partyScottish Conservatives
EducationThe Glasgow Academy

David Jackson Carlaw CBE (born 12 April 1959) is a Scottish politician who served as Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 2019 to 2020. He previously served as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from 2011 to 2019. He has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) since 2007, first as an additional member for the West Scotland region and later for the Eastwood constituency since 2016.

Raised in Newton Mearns, Carlaw worked as a car salesman after education at The Glasgow Academy. Elected to the Scottish Parliament on the West of Scotland regional list in 2007 and 2011, he was elected as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party in the 2011 deputy leadership election. He was subsequently made Scottish Conservative Spokesperson for Health and Sport. He was elected to the constituency of Eastwood in 2016, which had contested previously in 2003, 2007, and 2011, and following the election was made Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Europe and External Affairs and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Tourism.

Carlaw served as acting Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party from September 2018 to May 2019 during Ruth Davidson's maternity leave and from August 2019 to February 2020 following Davidson's resignation as leader. He was elected Scottish Conservative leader in the February 2020 leadership election, winning more than three-quarters of votes from party members. He resigned the leadership in July 2020, stating he was not the person best placed to lead the party into the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

Early life and career[edit]

Carlaw was raised in Newton Mearns and privately educated at The Glasgow Academy.[1] He worked for 25 years as a car salesman and was joint head of FirstFord car dealership in the west of Scotland until it was placed into receivership in November 2002.[2] He was also a director of Wylies automotive services until it went into administration in February 2003.[3]

Political career[edit]

Carlaw joined the East Renfrewshire Conservatives in 1978. He was the Conservative candidate in the 1982 Queen's Park by-election, and in the 1983 general election in Glasgow Pollok. He was Chairman of the Scottish Young Conservatives from 1984 to 1986, Chairman of Eastwood Conservatives from 1988 to 1992, and was Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Conservatives from 1992 to 1998. He was reappointed Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Conservatives in 2005.[4]

In the run-up to the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum Carlaw campaigned against the formation of a devolved Scottish Parliament alongside the Scottish Conservatives and the Think Twice campaign, advocating a No vote for both the question of the parliament's formation and whether the parliament should be granted tax-varying powers.[5][6]

Carlaw was unsuccessful as a candidate for Eastwood in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 Scottish Parliament elections. He was, however, elected on the party list under Scotland's additional member system in 2007 and 2011, representing the West of Scotland region. He sat on the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament until mid-2018.[7]

In 2011, Carlaw stood as a candidate in the leadership election brought on by Annabel Goldie's resignation. During the campaign, he was hospitalised with appendicitis.[8] Carlaw finished third behind Ruth Davidson and Murdo Fraser.[9] He was appointed as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party and Scottish Conservative Spokesperson for Health and Sport by Davidson following her victory.[10]

Carlaw became MSP for Eastwood in 2016, after defeating the incumbent Ken Macintosh. He was re-appointed as of 28 June 2017 as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Europe and External Affairs and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Tourism. He supported remain during the 2016 EU referendum.[11] In September 2016, he was elected Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Building Bridges with Israel, the establishment of which he pledged to help in his 2016 election campaign.

Carlaw opposed the SNP's changes to council tax in November 2016, believing the proposed changes would effectively put over 50% of property in East Renfrewshire in the top two council tax bands. Commenting against the decision, he maintained "the rise would unfairly hit working families and the elderly" and "will hit Eastwood residents hard".[12]

In February 2017, Carlaw was appointed Deputy Convener of the Cross Party Group on End-of-life Choices.

Following an attempt in March 2017 by the SNP to hold a second Scottish independence referendum, Carlaw spoke against the attempt, describing it as "pointless" and unwanted". He pledged the Scottish Conservatives would not allow for a further referendum until the Scottish public showed clear support.[13]

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives[edit]

Carlaw (left) and Ruth Davidson (right) on the Scottish Conservative frontbench in 2018

Carlaw served as acting leader of the Scottish Conservatives while leader Ruth Davidson was on maternity leave from September 2018 until May 2019. Following her resignation in August 2019, he was appointed to serve a second term.[14][15] In his role as acting leader, he supported Brexit and u-turned on criticisms of Prime Minister and Conservative leader Boris Johnson.[11] He was the incumbent when Johnson called the 2019 general election, in which the party lost seven of their 13 seats from 2017.[16]

On 6 January 2020, Carlaw confirmed his candidacy for the February 2020 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election[17] and launched his campaign in Edinburgh on 15 January. He received support from Ruth Davidson,[18] Murdo Fraser,[19] Adam Tomkins,[20] Liz Smith,[21] Annie Wells and Jamie Greene.[22] This gave Carlaw the position of favourite over his opponent Michelle Ballantyne. He centred his campaign around how he could beat Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP in the next Scottish Parliament election and the local elections in 2022. He also promised to make the Scottish Conservatives more for the middle and working classes and continue to maintain the Scottish Conservatives as the main party of the Union.[22] Carlaw won the election with 4,917 votes in his favour, as opposed to 1,581 for Ballantyne.[23] He promised to provide a "clear, focused and ambitious alternative to the SNP".[24]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Greens accused Carlaw in June 2020 of claiming an "outright falsehood" when he said the Scottish Parliament could be opened up quickly in order to hold the SNP government to account.[25] He initially supported the position of Boris Johnson to stick by Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings after alleged lockdown breaches but withdrew his support following criticism from leading figures in the Scottish party.[26]

On 30 July 2020, Carlaw announced his resignation as Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, stating he had reached the "simple if painful conclusion" he was not "the person best placed" to lead the party into the next Scottish Parliament election, in 2021.[27] He was succeeded by Douglas Ross.[28]


At the 2021 Scottish Parliament election Carlaw was re-elected as MSP for Eastwood with an increased majority of 2,216 votes over the SNP, with his share of the vote increasing by 6.2%.[29] Polling expert John Curtice put Carlaw's victory down to tactical voting by unionist voters who had voted Labour in 2016.[30]

In December 2022, Carlaw was found to have breached the MSP code of conduct by not declaring a paid trip to Israel that was funded by the Israeli Embassy.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Carlaw lives in Waterfoot, East Renfrewshire. He is married and has two sons.[32]


  1. ^ Acting from 29 August 2019 to 14 February 2020, during the February 2020 Scottish Conservative Party leadership election.


  1. ^ Morkis, Stefan (14 February 2020). "Jackson Carlaw: From car salesman to defender of the union". The Courier. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  2. ^ Dorsey, Kristy (2 November 2002). "Receivers at Firstford as takeover talks fail". The Herald. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Mystery of lost paintings at collapsed firm Carlaw was director of car hire company". The Herald. 10 October 2003. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Tory who told racist jokes appointed deputy chairman of Scottish party". Herald Scotland. 12 June 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Devolution: Twenty years since Scotland's decisive vote". STV. 20 July 2017.
  6. ^ Guida, Victoria. "Scottish Tories expect election revival – POLITICO". Politico.eu. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Membership – European and External Relations Committee". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Tory leadership contender Jackson Carlaw is taken ill". BBC News. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  9. ^ Andrew Black (4 November 2011). "Ruth Davidson elected new Scottish Conservative leader". BBC News. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  10. ^ "New leader Ruth Davidson announces front bench team". BBC News. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b Green, Chris (2 December 2019). "Scottish Tory leader u-turns on Brexit and says he'd now campaign for Leave". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ "SNP Council Tax will hit Eastwood Hard". Jackson Carlaw. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  13. ^ Johnson, Simon; Hughes, Laura (21 March 2017). "Nicola Sturgeon warned Scots are 'sick to death' of her second referendum demands". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Interview: Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw on filling Ruth Davidson's shoes". HeraldScotland.
  15. ^ Gilman, Laura (26 October 2018). "Political Activities". www.parliament.scot. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Results of the 2019 General Election in Scotland". BBC News. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  17. ^ Carlaw, Jackson (5 January 2020). "Scottish Conservatives must build on our progress and offer alternatives". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  18. ^ Johnson, Simon (11 December 2019). "Ruth Davidson endorses Jackson Carlaw for Scottish Tory leadership". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  19. ^ Fraser, Murdo (5 January 2020). "Good piece by ⁦@Jackson_Carlaw⁩ – he's the right person to take ⁦@ScotTories⁩ forward as we focus on the 2021 Holyrood election". @murdo_fraser. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  20. ^ MSP, Adam Tomkins (6 January 2020). "Delighted that my friend @Jackson_Carlaw has formally announced he's running to lead the @ScotTories. He's got my vote! #TeamJackson". @ProfTomkins. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  21. ^ Smith, Liz (5 January 2020). "Good piece by ⁦@Jackson_Carlaw⁩ who has my full support in leadership election.pic.twitter.com/IBdCXJhPrG". @MspLiz. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Scottish Tory leadership contenders set to face off in two-horse race". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Scottish Conservatives: Jackson Carlaw succeeds Ruth Davidson as leader". BBC News. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  24. ^ "Jackson Carlaw elected leader of Scottish Conservatives". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  25. ^ Learmonth, Andrew (1 June 2020). "Jackson Carlaw accused of 'outright lie' in parliament row". The National. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  26. ^ Philip, Andy (26 May 2020). "Scots Tory leader Jackson Carlaw U-turns in call for Dominic Cummings to 'consider his position'". Daily Record. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  27. ^ Vevers, Dan (30 July 2020). "Jackson Carlaw resigns as Scottish Conservatives leader". STV. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Douglas Ross confirmed as Scottish Conservative leader". BBC News. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  29. ^ "Eastwood". BBC Elections 2021. BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  30. ^ Curtice, Professor John (10 May 2021). "Half of Scotland wants to leave the UK and half wants to stay". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  31. ^ Brawn, Steph (22 December 2022). "Tory MSP breaks rules after failing to fully declare Israel trip". The National. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  32. ^ "About Jackson". Jackson Carlaw. Retrieved 22 August 2020.

External links[edit]

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by Member of the Scottish Parliament for Eastwood
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
Succeeded by