Joanna Cherry

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Joanna Cherry

SNP Spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs
Assumed office
20 May 2015
LeaderAngus Robertson
Ian Blackford
Preceded byPosition established
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh South West
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAlistair Darling
Majority1,097 (2.2%)
Personal details
Joanna Catherine Cherry

(1966-03-18) 18 March 1966 (age 53)
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

Joanna Catherine Cherry QC (born 18 March 1966)[1] is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician. She has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh South West since May 2015,[2][3] and is the SNP Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson in the House of Commons.


Cherry was born on 18 March 1966 to Mary Margaret (née Haslette) and Thomas Alastair Cherry.[4] She was educated at St Margaret's Convent School in Edinburgh[5] and the University of Edinburgh, where she gained a first-class Bachelor of Laws honours degree in 1988, a Master of Laws degree in 1989 and a Diploma in Legal Practice in 1990.


Following her graduation, Cherry worked as a research assistant with the Scottish Law Commission (1990) before practising as a solicitor with the Edinburgh legal firm Brodies WS until 1995. She also worked as a part-time tutor in constitutional law, family law and civil court practice at the University of Edinburgh from 1990–1996.[6]

Cherry was admitted as an advocate in 1995, with a particular interest in employment and industrial relations, health and safety, mental health, personal injury and professional negligence.[4][6]

She served as a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government from 2003 to 2008, and as an Advocate Depute and Senior Advocate Depute from 2008 until 2011. She was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2009[7] and was an advocate with the Arnot Manderson stable within the Faculty of Advocates [8] until her election to parliament.[9]

Cherry set up the "Lawyers for Yes" group, which campaigned for a "Yes" (pro-independence) vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[10] In February 2015, she was adopted as the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate for Edinburgh South West in the May 2015 UK general election.[11] She won the election and was re-elected in June 2017.[12]

In May 2017, following a BBC election debate, Cherry was criticised for spreading fake news when she erroneously briefing to the BBC that a nurse, who had condemned the SNP's record on NHS pay, was married to a Tory councillor. The nurse subsequently received significant abuse on social media. Cherry later apologised.[13]

On 8 May 2019 The Daily Telegraph reported she had had her official credit card repeatedly suspended for failing to repay money.[14] On 11 May 2019 The Times reported that Cherry was being investigated by the House of Commons over bullying complaints from four former employees.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Her personal interests are travel, reading, swimming.[4]

Cherry is a lesbian.[16] She is currently under investigation for homophobia, bullying and transphobia,[17] which she has been criticised for using to publicise leadership ambitions.[18]


  1. ^ Birth certificate of Joanna Catherine Cherry, 18 March 1966, Edinburgh District 328/87 3849 – National Records of Scotland
  2. ^ "List of Members returned to Parliament at the General Election 2015 Scotland". The Edinburgh Gazette. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Scottish MPs in Westminster: The full list of the SNP parliamentarians". Ben Tufft. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Cherry, Joanna Catherine, (born 18 March 1966), QC (Scot.) 2009; MP (SNP) Edinburgh South West, since 2015 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u250752. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". David Leask. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b Carr, Tim (18 May 2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015: Profiles of the New MPs and Analysis of the 2015 General Election Results. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849549240.
  7. ^ "Twelve new Queen's Counsel appointed". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Joanna Cherry QC joins AM Advocates | Arnot Manderson Advocates". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Election 2015: the lawyers standing for Parliament - Lawyer 2B". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  10. ^ ""Lawyers for Yes" sign independence declaration". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Joanna Cherry QC chosen as SNP candidate in Edinburgh South West". Scottish Legal News. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Edinburgh South West Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  14. ^ Johnson, Simon (8 May 2019). "Four Scottish MPs repeatedly have official credit cards suspended for failing to pay back money". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  15. ^ "SNP MP Joanna Cherry investigated after staff bullying complaints". The Times. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  16. ^ Andrew Reynolds (13 May 2015). "The UK broke its own record for LGBT representation last week". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Joanna Cherry: former employee speaks out over bullying allegations at MP's office". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Joanna Cherry, now's not the time for SNP leadership ambitions". Scottsman. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alistair Darling
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh South West