Jenny Marra
Marra in 2019
Convener of the Public Audit Committee
In office
29 September 2016 – 23 June 2021
Preceded byHugh Henry
Succeeded byRichard Leonard
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
5 May 2011 – 8 May 2021
Personal details
Born
Jennifer Margaret Marra

(1977-11-06) 6 November 1977 (age 44)
Dundee, Scotland
NationalityScottish
Political partyScottish Labour Party
Spouse(s)
John Thomson
(m. 2016)
Children2
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
Emory University
University of Dundee
Other offices

Jennifer Margaret Marra (born 6 November 1977) is a Scottish politician who served as convener of the Public Audit Committee. A member of the Scottish Labour Party, she was a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the North East Scotland region from 2011 to 2021.

Early life and education

Marra was born on 6 November 1977 in Dundee to Eileen Margaret and Nicholas James Marra. She attended St John's High School in Dundee before going on to study history at the University of St Andrews, graduating in 1999 with an MA in modern history.[1] She won a scholarship to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, after which she returned to her home town and spent five years promoting Dundee as a location for students, research and investment as Head of Press at the University of Dundee.[2] In 2008, she graduated from the University of Glasgow with an LLB, and in 2009 received a graduate diploma in law from BPP University in London. In 2010, she graduated with a Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Dundee.[1]

Political career

After a stint as the Labour MEPs spokesperson in Brussels and Strasbourg, Marra took a Scots law degree and qualified in both Scots and English law and Scottish legal practice. She is member of the GMB, Community and Amnesty International.[3] She was Labour's Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport from 2014 until 2016.[4] In addition to her party posts, Marra was also the Convenor for the Cross Party Group on Deafness.[4]

In the 2014 Scottish Labour Party leadership election, Marra acted as Co-Chair of Jim Murphy’s campaign.[5]

At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, Marra stood for Dundee City West constituency and finished behind Joe Fitzpatrick, then she was returned to parliament as a list MSP.[6] She is currently the Convener of the Scottish Committee for Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny.[7][8]

Marra argued that the Labour Party should attempt to block Brexit in the House of Commons.[8]

In November 2019, it was announced that Marra and Scottish National Party MSP Joan McAlpine would be hosting an event on behalf of the "Women's Human Rights Campaign", an international campaign that launched in New York in March 2019. The campaign's self-declared focus is on "the importance of keeping the current sex based definition of woman". The announcement was met with criticism from some feminist and LGBT groups, including Engender, The Equality Network and the Scottish Trans Alliance, who expressed their concerns that the Campaign's aims would breach Human Rights law, and in particular the rights of transgender people. However, a spokeswoman for the Campaign reiterated that their aim was to "re-affirm women’s sex-based rights, as set out in international human rights documents".[9]

In September 2020, Marra became the first Labour MSP to call for Richard Leonard to quit as Scottish Labour leader. She said "If we do not change course now we risk catastrophe. The reality is that you only have a short window in political leadership to make an impression on the public. After three years the party’s standing is getting worse rather than better. No one can say that Richard has not had opportunities to turn the situation around. Richard’s leadership was tied from the start to the disaster of Jeremy Corbyn’s project. It remains so in the public's view and they simply will not give the party a hearing as things stand."[10]

On 28 November 2020, Marra announced that she would not stand in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, stating "I have decided that my role as an MSP takes me away from my young children during the week in Edinburgh but also at evening meetings and weekend commitments".[11]

Marra nominated Anas Sarwar in the 2021 Scottish Labour leadership election.[12]

Personal life

Marra is a niece of the late musician Michael Marra.[13] In May 2016, Marra married John Thomson of the newspaper group DC Thomson;[citation needed] they have two children.[8][11]

References

  1. ^ a b "Marra, Jennifer Margaret, (born 6 Nov. 1977), Member (Lab) Scotland North East, Scottish Parliament, since 2011", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2012, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u255727, retrieved 18 April 2020
  2. ^ Jenny Marra's website Archived 22 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Jenny Marra MSP Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b The Scottish Parliament profile of Jenny Marra Archived 20 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Douglas Dickie (7 November 2014). "Scottish Labour Leadership: Rutherglen MSP gives his backing to Jim Murphy MP in leadership race". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Holyrood 2016: SNP hold Tayside and Central seats". BBC News. BBC. 6 May 2016. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Andrews, Kieran (7 January 2018). "Who will guard the guards? MSP Jenny Marra promises to hold the powerful to account". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  9. ^ Davidson, Emma (6 November 2019). "Women's rights declaration sparks accusations of discrimination". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  10. ^ Andrews, Kieran. "Labour MSP breaks ranks to demand Richard Leonard's departure". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b Marra, Jenny (28 November 2020). "I have taken the very difficult decision not to seek re-election in May. My commitment to ⁦@scottishlabour ⁩is undiminished. The last ten years serving Dundee and NE Scotland have been a privilege". Twitter. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Scottish Leadership Election 2021 - Nominations". Scottish Labour. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Dundee musician Michael Marra dies following battle with illness". STV. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
Political offices Preceded byHugh Henry Convener of the Public Audit Committee 2016–2021 Succeeded byRichard Leonard Party political offices Preceded byOffice established Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Equalities 2015–2016 Succeeded byMary Fee