|Convener of the Health and Sport Committee|
12 May 2016 – 19 December 2017
|Preceded by||Duncan McNeil|
|Succeeded by||Lewis Macdonald|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
|Assumed office |
5 May 2011
|Born||6 March 1969|
Bangour Village Hospital, West Lothian, Scotland
|Campaign for Socialism|
|Spouse(s)||Fiona Miller (m. 1998)|
|Alma mater||University of Strathclyde|
University of Glasgow
|Profession||Housing Officer, Teacher|
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. He was also a councillor in West Lothian from 2003 to 2012.
Early life and career
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.
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. Leader Johann Lamont appointed him to the frontbench as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing on 29 May 2013. 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. 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. The trade unions ASLEF, CWU, GMB, Musicians' Union, NUM, RMT, TSSA, UCATT, UNISON and Unite supported Findlay's candidature. He came second to Jim Murphy with 34.99% of the vote. 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.
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. From 2016 until 2017, he served as convener of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee. In 2017, he published his book Socialism and Hope: A journey through turbulent times, co-authored with biographer and journalist Jeff Holmes.
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. 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".
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". 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.
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. 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".
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