Catherine Mary Jamieson (born 3 November 1956) is a Scottish Labour and Co-operative politician who 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.
Jamieson as a government minister
|Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury|
8 October 2011 – 7 May 2015
|Preceded by||David Hanson|
|Succeeded by||Richard Burgon|
|Leader of the Scottish Labour Party|
28 June 2008 – 13 September 2008
|Preceded by||Wendy Alexander|
|Succeeded by||Iain Gray|
15 August 2007 – 14 September 2007
|Preceded by||Jack McConnell|
|Succeeded by||Wendy Alexander|
8 November 2001 – 22 November 2001
|Preceded by||Henry McLeish|
|Succeeded by||Jack McConnell|
|Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party|
21 October 2000 – 28 June 2008
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Johann Lamont|
|Minister for Justice|
20 May 2003 – 16 May 2007
|First Minister||Jack McConnell|
|Preceded by||Jim Wallace|
|Succeeded by||Kenny MacAskill|
|Minister for Education and Young People|
22 November 2001 – 20 May 2003
|First Minister||Jack McConnell|
|Preceded by||Jack McConnell|
|Succeeded by||Peter Peacock|
|Member of Parliament |
for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
|Preceded by||Des Browne|
|Succeeded by||Alan Brown|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament |
for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley
6 May 1999 – 22 March 2011
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Adam Ingram|
Catherine Mary Jamieson
3 November 1956
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
|Political party||Scottish Labour Co-operative|
|Alma mater||Glasgow School of Art|
Goldsmiths, University of London
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.
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.
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. 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: 2003–2007
Jamieson was appointed Minister for Justice following the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. 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.
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 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.
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. On 16 September, Gray announced the appointment of Jamieson as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.
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. Following her election to the House of Commons, she did not seek re-election for her Scottish Parliament seat in the 2011 election.
Johnnie Walker closure: 2009–2012
Before the 2010 election, Jamieson had to face 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. 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.
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.
Shadow Economic Secretary: 2011–2015
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. 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.
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