Sarah Boyack

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Sarah Boyack
Sarah Boyack MSP.jpg
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Lothian
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
5 May 2011 – 23 March 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Edinburgh Central
In office
6 May 1999 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Marco Biagi
Personal details
Born (1961-05-16) 16 May 1961 (age 55)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Scottish Labour Party
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Heriot-Watt University
Profession Town planner

Sarah Boyack (born 16 May 1961 in Glasgow) is a Scottish Labour politician, formerly constituency MSP for Edinburgh Central in the Scottish Parliament.


Boyack was brought up in Edinburgh where she was one of the first female entrants at the Royal High School.[1] She went on to study at the University of Glasgow in 1979, gaining an MA Honours degree in Modern History and Politics.[2] She became active in the Labour Club, where she was a protégé of Margaret Curran. She became chair of the Labour Club in 1981–82, and chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students in 1985–86. During her time at Glasgow University, she was involved in supporting the twinning with Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

She then did a Diploma in Town and Country Planning at Heriot-Watt University.[2]

She worked as a town planner in the London Borough of Brent then as a strategic planner in Central Regional Council in Stirling.[3] She then became a lecturer at the School of Planning and Housing at Heriot Watt University and was Convener of the Scottish Branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1997.[4]

Boyack's father, Jim Boyack, was an important figure in the Labour Party and the campaign for Scottish devolution.[5]

Member of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

She was elected to the new Scottish Parliament in 1999, and she was Minister for the Environment, Planning and Transport in the Scottish Executive from 1999–2000. Then Minister for Transport 2000–2001 during which time she introduced one of Scottish Labour's flagship policies of free bus travel for people over 60 and disabled people.[1] She was elected Convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Environment and Rural Development Committee in June 2003 and stood down in January 2007 when she returned to the Scottish Executive as Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development.[6]

In November 2004 Boyack received the RSPB Goldcrest Award for the most outstanding contribution to the development of environmental policy in Scotland since devolution and in December 2005 was named the Scottish Renewables Best Politician.[1][7]

Boyack co-chaired the review of the Labour Party in Scotland with Jim Murphy, commissioned by Ed Miliband in May 2011, which reported in late 2011.

She lost her constituency seat in the 2011 Scottish Parliament general election to Marco Biagi of the SNP but was elected on the Lothian Regional List as one of the seven members.

On 28 October 2014, Boyack declared that she would stand in the upcoming election to become the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.[5][8] She came third to Jim Murphy and Neil Findlay with 9.24% of the vote.[9]

Boyack again contested the Edinburgh Central seat in the 2016 general election, but was defeated by Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who stood for the same constituency. Boyack was also placed third on the Lothian regional list of Labour candidates behind Kezia Dugdale and Neil Findlay, but did not return to Holyrood following the election since Labour won only two list seats.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c Christine Richard (22 May 2008). "Sarah Boyack's glass is not just half full – it's positively fizzing!". Lothian Life. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Sarah Boyack – Personal Information". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Kate Shannon (March 2012). "A new brief puts the focus on spending prioities". Holyrood Magazine Supplement. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Profile: Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour leadership candidate". BBC. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "New Communities Minister". 2007-01-09. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  7. ^ "Centenary awards – The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds". Archived from the original on November 1, 2005. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  8. ^ "Scottish Labour leadership: MSP Sarah Boyack is first candidate to stand". BBC. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "MP Jim Murphy named Scottish Labour leader". BBC. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  10. ^ McPherson, Gareth (6 May 2016). "Holyrood no more — eight former MSPs who will be looking for new jobs". The Courier. D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 
  11. ^ Swanson, Ian (6 May 2016). "Holyrood 2016: Lothian list MSPs in full". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Press. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Scottish Parliament
New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Central
Succeeded by
Marco Biagi
Political offices
Preceded by
Rhona Brankin
Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development
Succeeded by
Michael Russell
as Minister for Environment
Preceded by
New offic
Minister for Transport and Planning
Succeeded by
Wendy Alexander
as Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning
Preceded by
New office
Minister for Transport and the Environment
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Alex Johnstone
Convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Environment and Rural Development Committee
Succeeded by
Maureen MacMillan