Neil Findlay

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Neil Findlay

NeilFindlayMSPPortrait.jpg
Convener of the Health and Sport Committee
In office
12 May 2016 – 19 December 2017
Preceded byDuncan McNeil
Succeeded byLewis Macdonald
Shadow Cabinet positions
Scottish Labour Parliamentary Business Manager
In office
4 October 2018 – 28 May 2019
Leader Richard Leonard
Preceded byRhoda Grant
Succeeded byElaine Smith
Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Brexit, Constitutional Relations, Campaigns and Party Engagement
In office
19 December 2017 – 28 May 2019
Leader Richard Leonard
Preceded byJames Kelly (Finance and the Constitution)
Succeeded byAlex Rowley
Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Fair Work, Skills and Training
In office
16 December 2014 – 21 August 2015
LeaderJim Murphy
Iain Gray (acting)
Preceded byJenny Marra (Youth Employment and Deputy Finance)
Succeeded byIain Gray (Opportunity)
Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Health and Wellbeing
In office
29 May 2013 – 16 December 2014
LeaderJohann Lamont
Preceded byJackie Baillie
Succeeded byJenny Marra
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Personal details
Born (1969-03-06) 6 March 1969 (age 50)
Bangour Village Hospital, West Lothian, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Other political
affiliations
Campaign for Socialism
Spouse(s)Fiona Miller (m. 1998)
Children1 daughter
Alma materUniversity of Strathclyde
University of Glasgow
ProfessionHousing Officer, Teacher
WebsiteOfficial website

Neil Findlay (born 6 March 1969) is a Scottish Labour Party politician who has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Lothian since 2011.[1][2] He was also a councillor in West Lothian from 2003 to 2012.

Early life and career[edit]

Findlay was born in 1969 in Bangour Village Hospital, near Broxburn. He was raised in Blackburn, West Lothian and educated at the co-educational, Roman Catholic St Kentigern's Academy.[3]

After leaving school in 1986, Findlay became an apprentice bricklayer in his father's business, and spent ten years working there. During this time, he also studied at the University of Strathclyde, gaining a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Politics, and going on to become a housing officer in 1996. After working for Almond Housing Association in Livingston for seven years, Findlay completed a PGCE at the University of Glasgow in 2003 and became a teacher in Falkirk for the next eight years.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

In 2003, Findlay was elected onto West Lothian Council as a Scottish Labour councillor for the Fauldhouse and Breich Valley ward. He was re-elected in 2007 and stood down in 2012.[4]

In 2011, Findlay was elected to the Scottish Parliament as one of seven additional members for Lothian. In 2012, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Skills and Learning.[5] Leader Johann Lamont appointed him to the frontbench as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing on 29 May 2013.[6] He has also been a member of the Scottish Parliament's Performance Committee, Local Area Committee and the Services for the Community Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel.

On 29 October 2014, Findlay declared that he would stand in the upcoming election to become the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.[7] Initially, Findlay wanted Gordon Brown to run for leader, but Brown ruled himself out. Calling for a "clear red water" between Labour and the Scottish National Party, Findlay proposed raising the minimum wage, reintroducing council house building, reducing private sector use in the NHS, and allowing councils to set taxes to help reverse job losses within their areas.[8] The trade unions ASLEF, CWU, GMB, Musicians' Union, NUM, RMT, TSSA, UCATT, UNISON and Unite supported Findlay's candidature.[9][10][11][12][13] He came second to Jim Murphy with 34.99% of the vote.[14] In the aftermath of his leadership bid, Findlay was appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training on 16 December 2014 by Murphy and remained in the post until being reshuffled out by Murphy's successor, Kezia Dugdale in August 2015.[15][16]

Findlay was the Scottish campaign chief for Jeremy Corbyn during the 2015 Labour leadership election, and is the convener of Scottish Labour's Campaign for Socialism, succeeding Elaine Smith.[17][18] From 2016 until 2017, he served as convener of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee.[19] In 2017, he published his book Socialism and Hope: A journey through turbulent times, co-authored with biographer and journalist Jeff Holmes.[3]

Findlay was appointed Scottish Labour's Brexit spokesperson by new leader Richard Leonard on 19 November 2017, and then also as Parliamentary Business Manager on 4 October 2018.[20][21] In early May 2019, Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray accused him of "bullying and harassment" in a complaint to Scottish Labour's General Secretary Brian Roy. In turn, Findlay issued a counter-complaint over "derogatory" WhatsApp messages in which Murray accused the leadership of being "full of thugs and incompetents".[22]

On 28 May 2019, the day after it was confirmed Scottish Labour had finished fifth in Scotland in the European elections and lost both its MEPs, Findlay resigned as Brexit spokesperson and Business Manager. He also intimated he would leave the Scottish Parliament after the 2021 election. He indicated he had made this decision in March after months of thought and denied that he was resigning due to the election result. He was however critical of "eternal internal fighting within our party and the toxic culture of leaks and briefings that come from some within the Scottish and UK parliamentary groups".[23][24] Following his resignation, he argued Scottish Labour needed to adopt a "clear and easily understood position on the constitution", having previously argued in favour of a federal United Kingdom.[23]

On 6 September 2019, a consultation launched by Findlay in the January reported back that there was overwhelming public support for his proposals to ban MSPs having second jobs, with some exceptions described as "common sense". With the consultation complete, he will draft a bill to be debated in the Scottish Parliament.[25][26] In the October, former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson announced she was accepting a public relations role for lobbying firm Tulchan Communications while retaining her job as an MSP and Findlay used her appointment as further justification for his bill, arguing the rules which allowed her to do so were "not fit for purpose".[27][28]

Personal life[edit]

Findlay is married to Fiona Miller, with whom he has one daughter, Chloe. He is a member of the trade unions Unite and Educational Institute of Scotland.[1][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Neil Findlay MSP website". Neil Findlay. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Neil Findlay MSP". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Findlay, Neil; Holmes, Jeff (2017). Socialism and Hope: A Journey Through Turbulent Times. Edinburgh: Luath Press. ISBN 978-1-912147-27-4.
  4. ^ a b "Neil Findlay MSP – About Neil". Neil Findlay. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Neil Findlay – Personal Information". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Johann Lamont in Scottish Labour front bench shake-up". BBC. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Scottish Labour leadership: MSP Neil Findlay second to enter contest". BBC. 29 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Profile: Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour leadership candidate". BBC. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Unite union backs MSP for Labour job". BBC. 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Ucatt backs 'former brickie' for Labour leader". The Construction Index. 6 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Neil Findlay launches Labour leadership bid". BBC. 8 November 2014. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  12. ^ Alan Jones (11 November 2014). "Labour leadership contest: Communication Workers Union gives 'full support' to Neil Findlay". daily Record. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Findlay in work death charges call". The Courier. Press Association. 13 November 2014. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  14. ^ "MP Jim Murphy named Scottish Labour leader". BBC. 13 December 2014. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  15. ^ Carrell, Severin (16 December 2014). "Scottish Labour reshuffle sees allies and rivals alike on Holyrood front bench". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Kezia Dugdale announces new Scottish Labour frontbench". LabourList. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Campaign for Socialism". Campaign for Socialism.
  18. ^ "Who's who on the Scottish Labour left". Morning Star. 3 May 2016. p. 8. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  19. ^ "About". Neil Findlay MSP. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  20. ^ "New Scottish shadow cabinet in full". LabourList. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Richard Leonard stamps his authority on Scottish Labour with high-stakes reshuffle". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  22. ^ Eardley, Nick (14 May 2019). "Labour politicians in complaints row". Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Two MSPs quit Scottish Labour front bench team". BBC News Scotland. 28 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  24. ^ Crae, Ross. "Neil Findlay resigns from Scottish Labour frontbench and to stand down as MSP at next elections". Sunday Post. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Neil Findlay launches bid to ban second jobs for MSPs". Scottish Labour. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Public support ban on MSPs having second jobs". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Ruth Davidson faces calls to resign over PR role". 24 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Labour MSP demands Ruth Davidson to reveal advice on new £50,000 a year job". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 28 October 2019.