Catherine Mary Jamieson (born 3 November 1956) is a Scottish Labour and Co-operative politician. She served as Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley from 1999 to 2011 and then 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.
Scottish Parliament election, 1999
Jamieson was elected an MSP in the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999. 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.
In 2001, Jack McConnell became First Minister and Jamieson was appointed Minister for Education and Young People in the subsequent cabinet reshuffle. She successfully shepherded the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001 through parliament – legislation which set up a list of people unsuitable to work with children, to be maintained by Disclosure Scotland.
During her tenure as education minister, Jamieson reformed the Scottish Qualifications Authority to reduce bureaucracy, and commenced the largest school building programme seen in Scotland. 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.
Minister for Justice
Jamieson was appointed Minister for Justice following the 2003 elections. 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. 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.
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. Jamieson later criticised Reliance and their security methods, but defended the principle of using a private company to transfer prisoners. 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."
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, although the reported effect was that Buckfast sales had actually increased substantially in the months following her comments. On a subsequent visit to Auchinleck, a town within her constituency, she faced an impromptu demonstration by teenagers chanting "Don't ban Buckie". 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". She referred to such material as "abhorrent". The plans have been opposed by groups such as the umbrella group Backlash.
Following the Scottish National Party's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Jamieson was appointed Shadow Minister for Parliamentary Business 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.
Scottish Labour Leadership contest, 2008
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. On 16 September Gray announced the appointment of Jamieson as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.
Jamieson did not seek re-election in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Johnnie Walker closure, 2009
Before becoming, and after winning the election as MP for Kilmarnock, Jamieson had to face the announcement from Diageo to pull the historic links with Kilmarnock, after announcing they would be moving the Johnnie Walker company to Fife, ending the 189 year links with brand has had with the town. Before the election, Jamieson had strong criticism towards the SNP-led Scottish Government and its candidate for the Kilmarnock and Loudoun area after the announcement that no money would be coming from the SNP area to help Kilmarnock. On the subject, Jamieson said, as candidate for the area:
"His confirmation that no money will come from the SNP government to help Kilmarnock is a body blow for the local area and everyone who has pulled together on the task force. Alex Salmond was prepared to give money to Diageo so why won’t he commit that same money now to help create new jobs in the area? When our local newspaper described the taskforce as a talking shop, I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt and accept that the SNP were willing to work with other parties. Now that looks like a cruel deception."
After becoming the MP for Kilmarnock, Jamieson still faced the issue of Johnnie Walker closure after it was announced in 2009. In March 2012, the Johnnie Walker factory in Kilmarnock closed its doors for the last time resulting in the loss of more than 700 jobs. On the issue, Jamieson said:
"There is no doubt that this is the end of an era in Kilmarnock and we must always remember the huge contribution that the workforce in Johnnie Walker’s made over the years. The plant was extremely important to the local economy as well as being an iconic building. But we must now look to the future and ensure that the legacy promised by Diageo is delivered, and that the site becomes the focal point for revitalising that part of the town".
Shadow Economic Secretary
Under Ed Miliband, Jamieson was appointed as the Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury within the UK Government. 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"
Jamieson currently lives in Mauchline with her husband, Ian Sharpe. She has one son and has been a vegan since 1996. She is an opponent of the Trident nuclear weapons system and is Secretary of the Westminster Parliamentary CND group.
In May 2018, Jamieson was appointed to the Kilmarnock Football Club board of directors.
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- Cathy Jamieson MP official constituency website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
|New constituency|| Member of the Scottish Parliament for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Kilmarnock & Loudoun
| Minister for Justice
(as Cabinet Secretary for Justice)
| Minister for Education and Young People