Marco Biagi (politician)

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Marco Biagi
Marco Biagi.JPG
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment
In office
21 November 2014 – 18 May 2016
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Derek MacKay
Succeeded by Kevin Stewart
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Central
In office
5 May 2011 – 23 March 2016
Preceded by Sarah Boyack
Succeeded by Ruth Davidson
Majority 237 (0.8%)
Personal details
Born (1982-07-31) 31 July 1982 (age 34)
Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Residence Edinburgh
Alma mater University of St Andrews
University of Glasgow
Religion Unitarian[1]

Marco Biagi (born 31 July 1982) is a Scottish politician, who formerly served as the Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment and as SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central between 2011 and 2016.

Early life[edit]

Biagi was born in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire on 31 July 1982 to Mary and Antonio Biagi, a fish-and-chip shop owning Scots-Italian family.[2][3] He attended secondary school at Heritage Academy in Helensburgh.[2] He studied International Relations at the University of St Andrews, and in 2002 was elected to take a one-year sabbatical from study to serve as Vice-President (Representation) of the Students' Association. In that year he also managed the unsuccessful campaign of Germaine Greer for election to the post of Rector.[4] He graduated with a First in 2005.[5] Biagi then began postgraduate study at Wadham College, Oxford University, but subsequently left and returned to Scotland.[6]

In 2007 he began working for new MSP Keith Brown and moved to the SNP central staff in 2009. After studying part-time for two years while working, he completed a master's degree at Glasgow University in 2010.[5]

In Parliament[edit]

Biagi won the seat of Edinburgh Central in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, defeating the Labour incumbent Sarah Boyack by a narrow margin of 237 votes but achieving only the second lowest share of the vote of any successful SNP constituency candidate.[7] He is understood to be the youngest person to have won election to the Scottish Parliament in a constituency seat.[6] When he was sworn in as an MSP he took the oath in his native English and also Italian.[8]

His maiden speech was in praise of renewable energy on 2 June 2011[9] followed by staging the first Member's Debate of the parliamentary term on 8 June in support of the campaign for the UK Green Investment Bank to be situated in Edinburgh.[10] Although the campaign was successful, Biagi changed to a more critical stance when it emerged that the majority of staff were nonetheless based in London rather than his constituency.[11]

Biagi has also been a persistent critic[12][13][14] of the Edinburgh tram project, which runs through Edinburgh Central, and which he described as "an overpriced downgrade" after suggestions that it would have a longer journey time than the existing airport bus.[15]

He publicly supported the retention of the SNP's policy of non-NATO membership in 2012 against a change proposed by the party's leadership,[16][17] a stance which the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives suggested resulted in him being passed over for promotion as a Minister that autumn.[18] After Jean Urquhart resigned from the SNP over the NATO policy change Biagi replaced her as Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee in October 2012.

In 2013 Biagi laid amendments to the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill to create duties on agencies including the Scottish Funding Council to support widening access to further and higher education, which were passed by Parliament with Scottish Government support.[19] Shortly after he was elected as Honorary President of the Federation of Student Nationalists.[20]

Openly gay since before he was elected,[21] for his contributions in support of the passage of Scotland's same-sex marriage bill Biagi was named on the inaugural Scotland on Sunday Pink List of 50 influential LGBT Scots in 2014.[22]

Biagi joined the Scottish Government as Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment in November 2014.[23] While in this role, in February 2015, he was appointed as co-chair of the Commission on Local Tax Reform- a cross-party group set up by the Scottish Government, tasked with examining alternatives to the Council Tax.[24]

After Parliament[edit]

Biagi began a PhD in political science at Yale University in the fall of 2016, studying comparative politics.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Interview with Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office June 2011
  2. ^ a b Who's who (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2017. 
  3. ^ Amanda Graham (16 November 2012). "Dumbarton men fight to save Hearts". Daily Record. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sir Clement Freud named as rector of St Andrews". The Scotsman. 26 October 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Scottish Parliament biography Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b Chris Marshall and Carla Gray (7 May 2011). "Scottish Parliament election: Profiles of the candidates elected to serve in Edinburgh". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  7. ^ BBC News – Election Results – Edinburgh Central
  8. ^ Carrell, Severin (11 May 2011). "MSPs sworn in at Holyrood after SNP landslide". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Official Report (Session 4), Scottish Parliament, 2 June 2011
  10. ^ Official Report (Session 4), Scottish Parliament, 8 June 2011
  11. ^ "More Green Bank staff in England than Edinburgh HQ". Edinburgh Evening News. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Dale Miller (4 December 2013). "Edinburgh tram to run on Princes Street tonight". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "Tram project to lose its third chief executive". Edinburgh Evening News. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sign leads 'blind' woman to open hole in the road". Edinburgh Evening News. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  15. ^ David McCann and Dale Miller (17 August 2013). "Edinburgh tram will take longer than bus to airport". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Robbie Dinwoodie (9 August 2012). "SNP rebellion growing over NATO U-turn plan". The Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Marco Biagi (18 October 2012). "Principles trump politics in decision on NATO". The Scotsman. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Official Report (Session 4), Scottish Parliament, 6 September 2012.
  19. ^ Official Report (Session 4), Scottish Parliament, 26 June 2013.
  20. ^ SNP Students Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  21. ^ Carrell, Severin (4 April 2011). "Devolution and equalities: Holyrood takes lead on gay representation". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  22. ^ Dani Garavelli (16 February 2014). "The Pink Scotland List: the pride of the nation". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon announces new Scottish cabinet". BBC News. 21 November 2014. 
  24. ^ Johnstone, Richard (20 February 2015). "Cosla and CIPFA on Scots council tax commission". Public Finance. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  25. ^ "People: Marco Biagi". Yale University. Retrieved 30 November 2016. 

External links[edit]