Cathy Jamieson
Official portrait, 2003
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
28 June 2008 – 13 September 2008
UK party leaderGordon Brown
Preceded byWendy Alexander
Succeeded byIain Gray
15 August 2007 – 14 September 2007
UK party leaderGordon Brown
Preceded byJack McConnell
Succeeded byWendy Alexander
8 November 2001 – 22 November 2001
UK party leaderTony Blair
Preceded byHenry McLeish
Succeeded byJack McConnell
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
21 October 2000 – 28 June 2008
  • Henry McLeish
  • Jack McConnell
  • Wendy Alexander
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJohann Lamont
Minister for Justice
In office
21 May 2003 – 17 May 2007
First MinisterJack McConnell
Preceded byJim Wallace
Succeeded byKenny MacAskill
Minister for Education and Young People
In office
22 November 2001 – 20 May 2003
First MinisterJack McConnell
Preceded byJack McConnell
Succeeded byPeter Peacock
Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
8 October 2011 – 8 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byDavid Hanson
Succeeded byRichard Burgon
Parliamentary Business Manager of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
18 May 2007 – 18 September 2007
  • Jack McConnell
  • Herself (acting)
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byPaul Martin
Member of Parliament
for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
In office
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byDes Browne
Succeeded byAlan Brown
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
In office
6 May 1999 – 22 March 2011
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byAdam Ingram
Personal details
Catherine Mary Jamieson

(1956-11-03) 3 November 1956 (age 65)
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Political partyScottish Labour Co-operative
Alma materGlasgow School of Art
Goldsmiths, University of London

Catherine Mary Jamieson[1] (born 3 November 1956) is a Scottish former Labour and Co-operative politician. Jamieson served in the Scottish Executive as Minister for Education and Young People from 2001 to 2003 and Minister for Justice from 2003 to 2007. She was Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley from 1999 to 2011 and Member of Parliament (MP) for Kilmarnock and Loudoun from 2010 to 2015.

Early life and education

Jamieson was educated at James Hamilton Academy in Kilmarnock, before obtaining a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art and a Higher National Diploma in Art at Goldsmiths College in London. After training as an art therapist, Jamieson turned to social work, becoming principal officer of an advocacy organisation for young people in care. She was also a member of the Edinburgh inquiry into abuse in residential care and served on the management and advisory committees of several childcare agencies.

Political career

Election as MSP and Deputy Leader: 1999–2000

Jamieson was elected an MSP in the first 1999 Scottish Parliament election. She was elected Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party in 2000 in leadership elections following the death of First Minister, Donald Dewar. The position of Deputy Leader was a first for the Scottish party, and Jamieson was elected unopposed.[2]

Minister for Education and Young People: 2001–2003

In 2001, Jack McConnell became First Minister and Jamieson was appointed Minister for Education and Young People in the subsequent cabinet reshuffle.[3] She successfully shepherded the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001[4] through parliament – legislation which set up a list of people unsuitable to work with children,[5] to be maintained by Disclosure Scotland.[6]

During her tenure as education minister, Jamieson reformed the Scottish Qualifications Authority to reduce bureaucracy,[7] and commenced the largest school building programme seen in Scotland.[8] During the UK-wide fire strike in 2002, Jamieson was criticised for refusing to publicly endorse the Executive's collectively agreed description of the fire strike as "unacceptable", and opposition MSPs called for her to be sacked. However, the First Minister issued a statement of public support for Jamieson and took no action.[9]

Minister for Justice: 2003–2007

Jamieson was appointed Minister for Justice following the 2003 Scottish Parliament election.[10] During her tenure, in addition to taking a substantial justice legislative programme through parliament (14 bills including reform of courts, protections for vulnerable witnesses, measures on the management of offenders, policing, family law, legal aid, the legal profession and the establishment of the Scottish Commission on Human Rights) she took a leading role on anti-social behaviour, tackling violence and sectarianism and commissioned a major review of Scotland's Civil Justice system.

In February 2005, it was revealed that Jamieson's nephew, Derek Hyslop, tried to blackmail her in 2001 while she was Education Minister. Hyslop was serving a jail sentence for manslaughter, and sent her a Christmas card demanding money, threatening to reveal his criminal convictions if she did not pay him.[11] Jamieson had paid £100 into his bank account in 1999, following the birth of his son, and Hyslop tried to claim that she made the payment to help him evade the police while he was on the run.[12]

One of the major crises to face Jamieson during her time as Minister for Justice, was the scandals occurring after the transfer of prisoner escort duties from the police to a private company, Reliance Security Group. Four days following the transfer, Reliance accidentally released a convicted killer at Hamilton Sheriff Court.[13] Jamieson later criticised Reliance and their security methods, but defended the principle of using a private company to transfer prisoners.[14] Opposition parties later called for her to resign, calls that Jamieson rejected, stating "I think the responsibility on a minister is to ensure that problems are solved... Some people in the face of problems might turn away, might walk away from them. I have no intention of doing that and I never did."[15]

One of the more high-profile campaigns launched by Jamieson was a campaign to ban Buckfast, a tonic wine popular with some underage drinkers in parts of Scotland. She campaigned against shops in her Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency to limit sales of the drink, claiming it was "linked to anti-social behaviour among young people". The distributors of Buckfast later threatened legal action against the Minister, stating it was harming sales,[16] although the reported effect was that Buckfast sales had actually increased substantially in the months following her comments.[17] On a subsequent visit to Auchinleck, a town within her constituency, she faced an impromptu demonstration by teenagers chanting "Don't ban Buckie".[18] In 2005, she co-introduced the joint Scottish Executive and Home Office consultation on criminalising possession of "extreme pornography", which claimed the intention "to reduce the demand for such material and to send a clear message that it has no place in our society".[19] She referred to such material as "abhorrent".[20] The plans have been opposed by groups such as the umbrella group Backlash.

Out of power: 2007

Following the Scottish National Party (SNP) victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Jamieson was appointed Shadow Minister for Parliamentary Business[21] and was selected as Labour's appointment to the Parliamentary Bureau.

After Jack McConnell's resignation as Scottish Labour Leader on 15 August, Jamieson was acting leader until 14 September 2007, when Wendy Alexander took over the leadership who appointed Jamieson as her deputy but without a portfolio spokesperson's role.[22]

2008 Scottish Labour Party leadership election

On 29 July 2008, Jamieson announced her intention to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership. After the contest with candidates Iain Gray and Andy Kerr, Jamieson came second to Gray during the election night on 13 September 2008.[23][24] On 16 September, Gray announced the appointment of Jamieson as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.[25]

MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun: 2010–2015

Jamieson was elected MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun in the 2010 general election, after winning with a majority of 12,378 and 52.5% of the vote.[26] An opponent of the Trident nuclear weapons system, Jamieson became secretary of the Westminster Parliamentary CND group.[27] Following her election to the House of Commons, she did not seek re-election for her Scottish Parliament seat in the 2011 election.

Before the 2010 election, Jamieson had faced the announcement from Diageo in 2009 to pull historic links with Kilmarnock, announcing they would be moving the Johnnie Walker company to Fife, ending the 189-year link the brand had with the town.[28] She strongly criticised Alex Salmond's SNP government and its candidate for Kilmarnock and Loudoun after they announced no money would be coming from the SNP to help create new jobs in Kilmarnock. She said the announcement was a "huge blow for the local area" and worked with a local taskforce to put pressure on the SNP.[29]

Under Ed Miliband, Jamieson was appointed in 2011 as the Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury within the Official Opposition frontbench. On being appointed, Jamieson said:

I am pleased to be joining the Shadow Treasury team. Every day we hear more about how people across the country are facing rising costs of living, and the fear of unemployment. We know that the Tory-led Government is cutting too far and too fast, and while their plan is hurting, it simply isn’t working. Labour believes there is a better way to deal with the economy, and we’ve launched our 5 point plan for jobs and growth.[30]

In March 2012, two years after Jamieson became MP, the Johnnie Walker factory in Kilmarnock closed, resulting in the loss of more than 700 jobs. Jamieson described it as an "end of an era in Kilmarnock" and pledged to put pressure on Diageo to honour commitments for the "iconic" site to become a point of regrowth in Kilmarnock.[31]

At the 2015 general election, Kilmarnock and Loudoun was gained by SNP candidate Alan Brown with a majority of 13,638 and 55.7% of the vote, an increase of 29.7%.[32]

Personal life

Jamieson currently lives in Mauchline with her husband, Ian Sharpe.[33] She has one son and has been a vegan since 1996.[34][35] After losing her seat, she became CEO of CareVisions Ltd, a residential child care company in Scotland originating in Dumfries and Galloway. In May 2018, she was appointed to the Kilmarnock Football Club board of directors.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (19 May 2010). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 19 May 2010 (pt 0003)". Retrieved 17 January 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Birrell, Steven (5 April 2002). "28 Days to select your leader: leadership selection in the Scottish Labour Party" (PDF). Political Studies Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  3. ^ "McConnell in radical cabinet shake-up". BBC News. 27 November 2001.
  4. ^ "The Scottish Parliament: – Bills – Bills not in progress (1999–2003)". Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Child protection measures passed". BBC News. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Informing recruitment decisions through the timely provision of accurate criminal history information and protecting vulnerable groups by preventing unsuitable people from working with them". Disclosure Scotland. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Pledge to reduce exams burden". BBC News. 9 May 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Parties do battle over schools". BBC News. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  9. ^ "McConnell angry at fire row". BBC News. 29 November 2002.
  10. ^ "McConnell's cabinet: At-a-glance". BBC News. 20 May 2003.
  11. ^ Gray, Louise (23 February 2005). "Justice Minister: my nephew is a jailed killer". The Scotsman.
  12. ^ "McConnell backs justice minister". BBC News. 23 February 2005.
  13. ^ "Probe into murderer release error". BBC News. 8 April 2004.
  14. ^ "Escort firm 'underestimated' task". BBC News. 21 April 2004.
  15. ^ "Jamieson faces resignation calls". BBC News. 21 April 2004.
  16. ^ Macmahon, Peter (14 February 2005). "Legal threat won't deter Jamieson in her bid to ban Buckfast". The Scotsman.
  17. ^ Macmillan, Arthur (8 May 2005). "Buckfast sales surge after Jamieson appeal for ban". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
  18. ^ Cowing, Emma (31 October 2006). "The monks tonic that threatens to seduce a generation of Scots". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
  19. ^ "Consultation on the possession of extreme pornographic material|Home Office". Archived from the original on 2 September 2006.
  20. ^ "Ban on violent net porn planned". BBC News. 30 August 2005. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  21. ^ "Front bench return for Alexander". BBC News. 18 May 2007.
  22. ^ "Ex-ministers out of Labour team". BBC News. 17 September 2007.
  23. ^ "Labour hopefuls detail priorities". BBC News. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  24. ^ "Jamieson launches leadership bid". BBC News. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  25. ^ "Labour frontline team announced". BBC News. 16 September 2008.
  26. ^ "Cathy Jamieson wins Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency with 52 percent of the vote". BBC News.
  27. ^ "Labour CND » Blog Archive » Cathy Jamieson: The Guardian". 3 April 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Last Johnnie Walker whisky bottled at Kilmarnock plant". BBC News. 23 March 2012.
  29. ^ SNP renege on promise over Johnnie Walker Archived 1 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 17 June 2014.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ Profile,, 1 November 2012; accessed 17 June 2014.
  32. ^ "Kilmarnock & Loudoun parliamentary constituency - Election 2019". BBC News. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  33. ^ "RELATIVE VALUES She's been pilloried over youth crime, faced calls for her resignation over escaped prisoners and even been blackmailed by her nephew. Now Cathy Jamieson is in the hot seat again . . ". HeraldScotland.
  34. ^ Fraser, Douglas (4 July 2004). "Will Cathy Jamieson resign as justice minister? 'As long as I've got". The Sunday Herald.
  35. ^ Kerry McCarthy MP full transcript (column 898), World Vegan Day, Adjournment Debate, House of Commons, 10.27 pm – 10.56 pm, 1 November 2011.
  36. ^ "Cathy Jamieson appointed to Kilmarnock board of directors". BT Sport. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
Scottish Parliament New parliamentScotland Act 1998 Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley 1999–2011 Succeeded byAdam Ingram Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byDes Browne Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock & Loudoun 2010–2015 Succeeded byAlan Brown Political offices Preceded byJim Wallace Minister for Justice 2003–2007 Succeeded byKenny MacAskillas Cabinet Secretary for Justice Preceded byJack McConnell Minister for Education and Young People 2002–2003 Succeeded byPeter Peacock