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
In office
13 December 2014 – 13 June 2015
Deputy Kezia Dugdale
Preceded by Johann Lamont
Succeeded by Iain Gray (acting)
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
In office
7 October 2013 – 2 November 2014
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Ivan Lewis
Succeeded by Mary Creagh
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
8 October 2010 – 7 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Bob Ainsworth
Succeeded by Vernon Coaker
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded by David Mundell
Succeeded by Ann McKechin
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
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Acting
In office
2 November 2005 – 5 May 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by John Hutton
Succeeded by Hilary Armstrong
Member of Parliament
for East Renfrewshire
Eastwood (1997–2005)
In office
1 May 1997 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Allan Stewart
Succeeded by Kirsten Oswald
46th President of the National Union of Students
In office
1994–1996
Preceded by Lorna Fitzsimons
Succeeded by Douglas Trainer
Personal details
Born James Francis Murphy
(1967-08-23) 23 August 1967 (age 47)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Claire Murphy
Children 2 sons
1 daughter
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]
Website Official website

James Francis Murphy[2] (born 23 August 1967) is a Scottish Labour Party politician who was the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party between 2014 and 2015 and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Renfrewshire from 2005 until 2015.

He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 2005 to 2006, Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform from 2006 to 2007, the Minister of State for Europe from 2007–08, and the Secretary of State for Scotland in the Cabinet from 2008–10.

After narrowly surviving a vote of no confidence, Murphy announced on 16 May 2015 that he will step down as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party on 13 June, which he did.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Murphy was born in Glasgow and raised in a flat in 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.[5] He studied Politics and European Law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He was a student at Strathclyde for 9 years during which time he held the posts of President of both NUS Scotland and NUS, but did not graduate from the university.[6][7]

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.[7]

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.[8] 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".[9]

In 1996, upon ceasing to be NUS President, Murphy became Special Projects Manager of the Scottish Labour Party.[10] He was also selected to stand as the Labour Party candidate in the seat of Eastwood at the 1997 general election.[11]

Member of Parliament[edit]

The previous incumbent of the Eastwood constituency, Allan Stewart of the Conservative Party, had been forced to resign his ministerial post after brandishing a pickaxe at demonstrators who were protesting at the construction of the M77 motorway.[12][13] Stewart was hospitalised after suffering a nervous breakdown in March 1997, and subsequently withdrew completely from politics.[14]

Murphy was 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.[15][16]

From 1999 to 2001, Murphy was a member of the Public Accounts Select Committee, which oversees public expenditure.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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 include 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 the Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel from 2001 to 2002,[20] and is a member of the Henry Jackson Society's Political Council.[21]

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 and subsequently promoted to ministerial rank as the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office.[22] 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 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 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.[23][24] In The Times, journalist Daniel Finkelstein dubbed it the "Bill to End All Bills",[23] and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament David Howarth called it the "Abolition of Parliament Bill".[24] The Green Party passed a motion at their conference against the Bill, saying "the Bill threatens to shatter the foundations of democracy".[25]

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 Israel.[20]

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 had a leading role in organising the support of opposition parties in promoting the implementation of the Commission on Scottish Devolution's recommendations. The aim was to "block an independence referendum" in Scotland.[26][27]

In 2010, a commission chaired by Sir Thomas Legg demanded Murphy repay £577.46 in expenses which he had overclaimed. He did not appeal, and repaid the money in full. Expenses documents made available showed he also claimed over one million pounds between 2001 and 2012. In 2007/8 he claimed £3,900 for food, £2,284 for petty cash and £4,884 for a new bathroom. He claimed £249 for a TV set and a further £99 for a TV stand; £1762.50 of taxpayers money paid for Murphy's website whilst further claims included Labour party adverts in the local press. He claimed almost £2000 of public cash to pay private accountants to handle his tax returns.[28] In 2012 Murphy was among a group of 27 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. Although the practice did not break rules, it has been characterised as a "loophole" that allows politicians to profit from Commons allowances. 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.[29] Murphy had previously apologised "on behalf of all politicians" for the expenses scandal in 2009.[30]

Murphy co-chaired the review of the Labour Party in Scotland with Sarah Boyack, commissioned by Ed Miliband in May 2011 in response to the landslide victory by the Scottish National Party in the Scottish general election of 2011, which reported in late 2011.[31]

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.[32] A Labour Party investigation later cleared Unite of any wrongdoing.[33] Later that year, Murphy was demoted to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.[34]

In October 2013, Murphy told a radio show that,[35]

On 7 May 2015, Murphy lost his parliamentary seat to Kirsten Oswald of the Scottish National Party (SNP), with a swing of 31.7% since the 2010 election.[36]

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.[37][38]

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.[39][40] 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.[41]

Leader of the Scottish Labour Party[edit]

Election to leadership and early activities[edit]

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".[42] Following the resignation, Murphy announced that he would be a candidate in the election to replace her.[43] He resigned from the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet in November 2014.[44] 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] In announcing his candidacy Murphy stated he would end the electoral losing streak of Labour in Scotland.[46] On 13 December 2014, Murphy was elected as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, having secured 56% of the vote under the party's electoral college system.[47]

In December 2014 Murphy called for alcohol to be reintroduced at football matches in Scotland. It was banned in 1980 following a drink-fuelled riot at an Old Firm match. Mhari McGowan, representing Assist, a domestic violence support organisation, called the proposal "absolutely crazy".[48] Ruth Davidson of the Conservative Party had previously called for a review of the policy in 2013. The other main Scottish parties support leaving the ban in place, as do several health experts who signed a letter to The Herald warning against any relaxation of the policy.[49]

In February 2015, Murphy claimed that four times as many NHS operations were being cancelled in Scotland as in England. When it emerged that the claim was based on a misreading of the statistics, Murphy had to delete a YouTube video and a tweet he had made capitalising on the false claim.[50]

2015 General Election[edit]

On his election as party leader Murphy said he was confident under his leadership Labour would not lose any MPs to the SNP in the British general election of May 2015.[51] On 27 February 2015, Murphy announced that he would again stand for the Westminster parliamentary seat of East Renfrewshire in the election.[52] In the run-up to the United Kingdom general election, 2015, Murphy predicted that a late swing would save Labour in spite of unfavourable polls.[53]

In the event on 7 May 2015 Labour were all but wiped out in Scotland by a Scottish National Party landslide. Murphy lost his own East Renfrewshire seat to the SNP's Kirsten Oswald, leading to calls for his resignation.[36] The SNP won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster and Scottish Labour lost 40 of the 41 seats it was defending. As well as Murphy, other senior Labour casualties included Douglas Alexander and Margaret Curran.

Murphy was criticised for his role in the defeat. His chief of staff John McTernan and strategy head Blair McDougall were also criticised. Criticism was made of Labour party resources in Scotland being assigned to favoured candidates such as Alexander and Curran.[54] Former Scottish health minister Andy Kerr remarked, "My worry is that Jim’s a product of the system who saw Scotland through the prism of their deep hatred for the SNP; they forgot to see Scotland through the prism of the Scottish people and how they are changing."[55]

Following his defeat, Murphy said he would remain Leader of Scottish Labour.[56] First to call for Murphy to resign from being leader was unseated MP Ian Davidson who said, "Morally, as the man who has led us to the biggest ever disaster that Labour has suffered in Scotland ... of course he can’t continue."[57]

Pat Rafferty of Unite called for Murphy's resignation. Kevin Lindsay of ASLEF followed. Neil Findlay MSP resigned from Murphy's shadow cabinet citing the election results.[58] MSP Alex Rowley added his voice to calls for Murphy's resignation.[59] Like Findlay, Rowley resigned from Murphy's shadow cabinet. MSP Elaine Smith said, "They are putting loyalty to the Labour Party ahead of personal career or position and I think Jim Murphy should do likewise and step down as leader."[60]

After narrowly surviving a vote of no confidence by 17 votes to 14 at a party meeting in Glasgow, Murphy announced on 16 May 2015 that he intended to step down as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party in June. (Three of the 17 votes in support of Murphy included that of Murphy himself, that of Ian Murray MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Labour's only MP in Scotland, and that of the Labour Peer Lady Meta Ramsay of Cartvale).[61] At the same press conference Murphy also stated that he wanted to have a successor as leader in place by the summer, and confirmed he would not be standing for a seat at the Scottish Parliament in the 2016 general election. He added that Scottish Labour was the "least modernised part of the Labour movement", and commented that problem with the Labour party lay not with the trade unionists, but with Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, whose behaviour he described as "destructive".[62] Murphy's resignation took effect on 1 June 2015; While Kezia Dugdale, as Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour, would normally act as leader until a permanent leader is elected, former Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray will become acting leader as Dugdale resigned the Deputy Leadership in order to run for the Leadership vacated by Murphy.[63][64][65]

Henry Jackson Society membership[edit]

Jim Murphy is on the Political Council of the Henry Jackson Society,[66] a cross-partisan, transatlantic think tank named in honour of Cold War anti-communist US Senator Henry M. Jackson. The society advocates an interventionist foreign policy by both non-military and military methods.

As Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Murphy gave a speech at an HJS event entitled 'A New Model for Intervention: How the UK Responds to Extremism in North and West Africa and Beyond’, arguing for the UK to remain engaged in defence policy beyond its borders, while learning lessons from past experiences.[67]

In January 2015, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Greens called on Murphy to resign from the Henry Jackson Society.[68] 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."[69] In response the Henry Jackson Society reaffirmed its cross-partisan nature, saying "we believe ... the broadest possible coalition of politicians – of which Jim Murphy is just one of 15 Labour parliamentarians to do so through our political advisory council – should engage with such ideas [of foreign policy]."[68]

Personal life[edit]

Jim Murphy is married with three children. He captained the Parliamentary Football Team.[70] He is a vegetarian[71][72] and teetotaller.[73]

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 about the aftermath of the accident.[74]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC News". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Daily Hansard – Debate". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "BBC News". 16 May 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Scottish Labour agree to swathe of party reforms – and new leader will be announced on August 15th". LabourList. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Faces of NUS Scotland past". Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b Murphy, James. Who's Who (Dec 2013 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  8. ^ ""We are campaigning for the enrichment of life" – Tony Benn makes the case for free education". anticuts.com. 
  9. ^ "Early day motion 991, 1995 – 1996 Session". UK Parliament. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jim Murphy: Electoral history and profile". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Frost's Scottish Who's Who – Jim Murphy
  12. ^ "Tory MP fined pounds 200 for waving pickaxe – News – The Independent". The Independent. 12 September 1995. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Film tribute to the 'Pollok birdman'". BBC. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Stewart has nervous breakdown". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "UK general election result, May 1997: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  16. ^ Hélène Mulholland (3 October 2008). "Profile: Jim Murphy". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Rt Hon Jim Murphy, MP Authorised Biography – Debrett's People of Today". debretts.com. 
  18. ^ "Ahern row MP quits as aide". BBC. 11 February 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "UK general election result, June 2001: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  20. ^ a b "Jim Murphy: Labour still loves Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Advisory Council – Political Council members". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "UK general election result, May 2005: Eastwood". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  23. ^ a b How I woke up to a nightmare plot to steal centuries of law and liberty, The Times, 15 February 2006.
  24. ^ a b Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill?, The Times, 21 February 2006.
  25. ^ "Greens attack 'Abolition of Parliament' Bill". Green Party of England and Wales. 18 March 2006. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. 
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  27. ^ "US embassy cable – 10LONDON126 (original version)". Cables.mrkva.eu. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  28. ^ "Expenses: What every Scottish MP claimed, repaid or has yet to repay". The Scotsman. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  29. ^ "Jim Murphy named among 27 MPs in new expenses row". The Herald (Glasgow). 19 October 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "Jim Murphy apologises for expenses scandal". 20 April 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  31. ^ "Ed Miliband orders review of Scottish Labour party". The Guardian. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  32. ^ Murphy says Unite “well and truly overstepped the mark” in Falkirk West. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  33. ^ Unite cleared over Labour vote-rigging row. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  34. ^ Maddox, David (8 October 2013). "Scotsman.com- "Doubts over Trident as Jim Murphy is demoted "". The Scotsman. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  35. ^ telegraph.co.uk: "Former Shadow Defence Secretary: British women should be allowed to fight on front line", 8 Oct 2013
  36. ^ a b "Scottish Labour implodes as calls for Murphy's head begin". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
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  38. ^ Black, Andrew (13 December 2014). "Profile: Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
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  40. ^ "Scottish independence: Jim Murphy suspends campaign tour". BBC News. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
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  43. ^ "Murphy announces leadership candidacy". The Herald (Glasgow). 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
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  46. ^ Herald Scotland 30 October 2014
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  50. ^ "Scottish Labour leader deletes YouTube video after getting NHS stats wrong". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
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  57. ^ Dalton, Alastair (8 May 2015). "Jim Murphy defiant in face of resignation calls". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  58. ^ Jamie Grierson. "Jim Murphy encouraged to resign by trade union leaders". the Guardian. 
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  65. ^ "Scottish Labour agree to swathe of party reforms – and new leader will be announced on August 15th". LabourList. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  66. ^ "Henry Jackson Society Academic Council". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  67. ^ "Event Summary: ‘A New Model for Intervention. How the UK Responds to Extremism in North and West Africa and Beyond’ with Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP". Henry Jackson Society. 15 March 2013. 
  68. ^ a b "Scottish Labour leader urged to cut links with right-wing think tank". The Herald (Glasgow). 4 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  69. ^ "Murphy in Henry Jackson Society "unacceptable"". Scottish National Party. 4 January 2015. 
  70. ^ "Jim Murphy". Youth Football Scotland. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  71. ^ Summers, Deborah (7 November 2008). "Labour's Jim Murphy boosts the Gordon Brown bounce". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  72. ^ "Knowing me knowing… Jim Murphy". Labour-uncut.co.uk. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  73. ^ "Putting the fizz back into the 'No' campaign?". BBC. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  74. ^ Eyewitnesses give accounts of Glasgow pub police helicopter crash, news.stv.tv. Retrieved 5 March 2014.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Non-profit organisation positions
Preceded by
Derek Munn
President of the Scottish National Union of Students
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Douglas Trainer
Preceded by
Lorna Fitzsimons
President of the National Union of Students
1994–1996
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Allan Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Eastwood

19972005
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament
for East Renfrewshire

20052015
Succeeded by
Kirsten Oswald
Political offices
Preceded by
John Hutton
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Acting

2005–2006
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Hilary Armstrong
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Acting

2005–2006
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Minister of State for Europe
2007–2008
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Caroline Flint
Preceded by
Des Browne
Secretary of State for Scotland
2008–2010
Succeeded by
Danny Alexander
Preceded by
David Mundell
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
2010
Succeeded by
Ann McKechin
Preceded by
Bob Ainsworth
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
2010–2013
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Vernon Coaker
Preceded by
Ivan Lewis
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
2013–2014
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Mary Creagh
Party political offices
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Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
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