Jackie Baillie
Official portrait, 2016
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Assumed office
3 April 2020
Preceded byLesley Laird
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
14 January 2021 – 27 February 2021
UK party leaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byRichard Leonard
Succeeded byAnas Sarwar
15 November 2017 – 18 November 2017
UK party leaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byAlex Rowley (Acting)
Succeeded byRichard Leonard
Minister for Social Justice
In office
27 October 2000 – 8 November 2001
First MinisterHenry McLeish
Preceded byWendy Alexander
Succeeded byIain Gray
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Dumbarton
Assumed office
6 May 1999
Preceded byConstituency established
Majority1,483 (3.8%)
Scottish Labour portfolios
2009–2013Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
2014–2018Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work[a]
2020–2021Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance
2021–2023Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Social Care and Equalities
2023-PresentShadow Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care and Drugs Policy, General Election campaign co-coordinator
Personal details
Jacqueline Marie Barnes

(1964-01-15) 15 January 1964 (age 59)
British Hong Kong
Political partyLabour
Stephen Baillie
(m. 1982)
Alma materNew College Lanarkshire
University of Strathclyde
University of Glasgow
WebsiteOfficial website

Dame Jacqueline Marie Baillie DBE (née Barnes; born 15 January 1964) is a Scottish politician who has served as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party since 2020. She has been Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Dumbarton constituency since 1999. She also served as acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party in 2017 and again in 2021.

Born in British Hong Kong, Baillie was educated at St Anne's School, Windermere before studying at Cumbernauld College and the University of Strathclyde. After working in local government, she was elected at the 1999 Scottish Parliament election and served in the Scottish Executive as Minister for Social Justice under Henry McLeish. In December 2014, she was appointed as Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Finance, Constitution and Economy; later Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.

After Kezia Dugdale resigned as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party and acting leader Alex Rowley was suspended, Baillie served as acting leader until Richard Leonard was elected as Scottish Labour leader in 2017. She was sacked by Leonard as economy spokesperson in October 2018, who also replaced her in the role. After she was elected Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Leonard reappointed Baillie to his Shadow Cabinet as Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Finance in April 2020. She again served as acting Scottish Labour leader for six weeks following Leonard's resignation in January 2021 and has been described by journalist Alex Massie as someone "who both loves to wind-up the SNP and is good at it".[1]

Early life and career

Baillie was born on 15 January 1964 in British Hong Kong to Sophie and Frank Barnes.[2] Her mother is Scottish and her father Portuguese. After education at the private St Anne's School, Windermere in the Lake District, she studied at Cumbernauld College and the University of Strathclyde. She went on to work as a resource centre manager at Strathkelvin District Council and a community economic development manager at East Dunbartonshire Council.[3]

Political career

Scottish Executive: 1999–2007

Baillie was chair of Scottish Labour in 1997.[3] She was first elected at the inaugural election for the Scottish Parliament in May 1999. A member of the Scottish Executive, she served as Minister for Social Justice when Henry McLeish was First Minister of Scotland, during which time she was involved with the Homelessness Task Force.[4] She was re-elected in 2003 and became a member of the Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee and Public Petitions Committee. She supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[5][6]

Opposition: 2007–2020

Official parliamentary portrait, 2011

In December 2007, Baillie defended Labour leader Wendy Alexander on Newsnight Scotland, during the controversy regarding alleged illegal donations to Alexander's leadership campaign.[7]

In 2009, Baillie successfully brought into being an act of the Scottish Parliament, with the unanimous support of all MSPs, to allow for greater protection of disabled parking spaces.

Baillie has opposed minimum pricing of alcohol, being unconvinced about the overall benefits.[8] In 2010, she stated it would not be the best way of tackling the country's alcohol-related problems but instead backed a tax-based alternative amongst other measures.[9] The legislation was passed setting a minimum unit pricing floor price for a unit of alcohol of 50 pence per unit.[10]

Baillie held the position of Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Health in the Shadow Cabinet of Iain Gray, retaining the post in December 2011 following the election of Johann Lamont as Gray's successor.[11][12] When Lamont announced a major shakeup of the Labour frontbench team on 28 June 2013, Baillie was moved from Health to Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Social Justice and Welfare.[13]

On 27 March 2014, Baillie stood in for Johann Lamont at First Minister's Questions while Lamont was attending the funeral of veteran Labour politician Tony Benn.[14] She also stood in at FMQs following Lamont's resignation as Labour leader in October 2014.[15] Baillie ruled herself out of standing in the leadership election that followed Lamont's departure, stating that she wanted a "supporting role" rather than to be Labour leader.[16]

As a backbench MSP, Baillie campaigned for a public inquiry into a lethal outbreak of Clostridium difficile colitis at the Vale of Leven Hospital in her constituency. The inquiry into the outbreak cost £10 million, while the families were offered £1 million, something which prompted Baillie to plead Health Secretary Shona Robison for greater compensation for those affected, during a session of the Scottish Parliament in November 2014.[17]

In December 2017, Baillie was reduced to tears when raising the concern of fire safety following the deaths of two men in the Cameron House Hotel Fire.[18]

After Kezia Dugdale resigned as Scottish Labour leader in August 2017 and interim leader Alex Rowley was suspended, Baillie served as acting leader until Richard Leonard was elected as the new leader following the 2017 Scottish Labour leadership election. Baillie continued to serve as Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work until October 2018 when she was sacked by Leonard, who also replaced her in the role.

Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party: 2020–present

In January 2020, Baillie announced that she would be standing as a candidate for the post of Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.[19] On 3 April, it was announced she had won the contest by 10,311 votes to Matt Kerr's 7,528 votes.[20] After she was elected, Leonard reappointed her to his frontbench as Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Finance. She served as acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party since after the resignation of Leonard on 14 January 2021 and served until the election of Anas Sarwar as leader.

On 1 March 2021, Baillie was moved from shadowing Finance to Health, Social Care and Equalities.[21]

Between 2020 and 2021, Baillie was a member of Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints that concluded that the Scottish Government's handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond was "seriously flawed".[22][23] As a committee member, Baillie quizzed both Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, asking the latter: "You have described these errors as catastrophic. That's a strong word, tell me why then nobody has resigned? Nobody has taken responsibility of this, because at the heart of this two women have been let down."[24] Former BBC journalist Andrew Neil said of Baillie's questioning, "As a professional interviewer... there were many times when I thought Jackie Baillie was the only one that knew the questions to ask."[25]

On 19 March 2021, the findings of the committee were pre-emptively leaked to the media by an MSP. Baillie backed an inquiry into the leak and said: "The leaks against the women were particularly bad, because they had the bravery to come forward to speak to the committee. It was entirely inappropriate that that information was leaked to the public domain."[26]

In the run up to the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, former SNP Depute Leader Jim Sillars donated £2,000 to her campaign to be re-elected. “I would prefer her in the parliament to a clone on the backbenches," Sillars said. "I don’t think there is any doubt she is an asset to the parliament. My concern, in donating to Jackie Baillie, was to have a very able person in parliament."[27]

Ballie was re-elected in May 2021 with an increased majority of 1,483, with Dumbarton becoming the only seat to have voted Labour for the entirety of the devolved era.[28] After her victory, she told her constituents: "You want a recovery, not a referendum. You want us to prioritise your jobs, the economy, the NHS. You want us to make sure that our kids at school have all the opportunities they deserve. I pledge to you that I will do that in this next parliament."[29]

Baillie was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2023 Birthday Honours for political and public service.[30]

Personal life

Baillie married Stephen Baillie in 1982.[2] They are now divorced. She lives in Dumbarton with her daughter. During her time as MSP, she studied for a Master of Science degree in Local Economic Development at the University of Glasgow.[3]


  1. ^ Finance, Constitution and Economy (2014–15); Public Services and Wealth Creation (2015–16)


  1. ^ Massie, Alex (29 May 2022). "Cheap point-scoring can't mask SNP's failings". The Times.
  2. ^ a b Who's who (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Visit & Learn : Scottish Parliament". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 24 April 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Task force homes in on homelessness". BBC News. 25 August 1999. Archived from the original on 27 October 2006.
  5. ^ Maxwell, Jamie (19 March 2013). "War Weary". Bella Caledonia. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  6. ^ Foulds, Jenny (2 June 2022). "Jackie Baillie slams nasty Nats after 'War Pig' graffiti daubed on MSP's office". Daily Record. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  7. ^ Newsnight Scotland interview Archived 30 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine BBC, 3 December 2007
  8. ^ Macleod, Angus (29 October 2009). "SNP left high and dry as Labour rejects minimum alcohol pricing". The Times. Times Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Scots 'drink 46 bottles of vodka'". BBC News. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Scottish minimum alcohol pricing passed by parliament". BBC News. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  11. ^ "New Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont unveils front-bench". STV news. 19 December 2011. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Johann Lamont hands finance role to rival Ken Macintosh". BBC News. 19 December 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Johann Lamont in Scottish Labour front bench shake-up". BBC News. 28 June 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  14. ^ Taylor, Brian (27 March 2014). "First minister's questions: Getting the last word". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Labour accuses Salmond over NHS". The Courier (Dundee). 30 October 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  16. ^ Carrell, Severin; Brooks, Libby (27 October 2014). "Anas Sarwar rules out Scottish Labour leadership bid". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  17. ^ "MSP Jackie Baillie's tears over C. diff hospital deaths". BBC News. 25 November 2014. Archived from the original on 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Tearful Jackie Baillie asks question about Cameron House deaths". BBC News. 21 December 2017.
  19. ^ Beaton, Ailean (15 January 2020). "Jackie Baillie announces Scottish Labour deputy leadership campaign". Holyrood.
  20. ^ McNab, Scott (3 April 2020). "Jackie Baillie wins Scottish Labour deputy leadership race". The Scotsman. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  21. ^ Rodgers, Sienna (1 March 2021). "Sarwar unveils new 'campaign cabinet' to lead Scottish Labour into election". LabourList. Retrieved 5 March 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Davidson, Jenni (23 March 2021). "Scottish Government handling of inquiry and judicial review 'seriously flawed', committee concludes". Holyrood Website.
  23. ^ "Salmond committee criticises 'serious flaws' of Scottish government". BBC News. 23 March 2021.
  24. ^ Davidson, Gina (3 March 2021). "Alex Salmond inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon and Jackie Baillie clash over legal advice". The Scotsman.
  25. ^ SpectatorTV. "EU panic & Sturgeon's stramash – The Week in 60 Minutes with Andrew Neil". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  26. ^ "Baillie backs probe into 'entirely inappropriate' leaks from Salmond committee". Belfasttelegraph.
  27. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (3 March 2022). "SNP legend donated £2,000 to Scottish Labour during Holyrood election campaign". Daily Record.
  28. ^ "Elections 2021: Constituencies A-Z: Dumbarton". BBC News. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  29. ^ "Scottish election results 2021: Labour increase majority in Dumbarton". BBC News. 7 May 2021. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  30. ^ "No. 64082". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2023. p. B8.