Ian Murray (Scottish politician)

Ian Murray (born 10 August 1976) is a Scottish politician who has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland since 2020, and previously from 2015 to 2016. A member of the Scottish Labour Party, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh South since 2010.

Ian Murray

Murray in 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Assumed office
6 April 2020
LeaderKeir Starmer
Preceded byTony Lloyd
In office
11 May 2015  26 June 2016
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byMargaret Curran
Succeeded byDave Anderson
Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment
In office
7 October 2011  8 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byStephen Doughty
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh South
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byNigel Griffiths
Majority11,095 (22.3%)
Personal details
Born (1976-08-10) 10 August 1976 (age 44)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh

He previously served as a City of Edinburgh Councillor for the wards of Liberton and Liberton/Gilmerton from 2003 to 2010. Since 2019, Murray has been the only Labour Party MP representing a Scottish constituency and had previously been so from 2015 to 2017. A critic of former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, in 2020, it was revealed that Murray was initially planning to defect from the Labour Party and join The Independent Group, which later became Change UK; Murray decided against joining the seven defectors and remained as a Labour MP.

Early life and career

Murray was born in Edinburgh, to a cooper father and shop assistant mother in 1976. Brought up in the Wester Hailes area of Edinburgh, he attended Dumbryden Primary School,[1] then Wester Hailes High School. Upon completing his secondary school education, Murray read Social Policy and Law at the University of Edinburgh's Academy of Government. He graduated with an honours degree (BA) aged twenty. While studying at university, he had a part-time job in a local fish & chip shop before setting up and running a pizza delivery service.

After graduation, Murray worked for Royal Blind in pensions management, before being head-hunted by an Edinburgh-based internet television station (Worldart.com) during the dot-com boom where he helped to build a new online TV station. Despite his efforts, the company ran out of funding and he was made redundant; he then founded his own event management business (100 mph Events Ltd). Murray also organised a student exchange programme in Nepal to fund school buildings and staff.[2]

Political career

In 2003, Murray stood in the local elections for Liberton winning the seat for Labour at the age of 27; he later represented the larger Liberton/Gilmerton ward from 2007 to 2010.[3]

Murray was returned for the seat of Edinburgh South at the 2010 general election.[4] He served on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Select Committee. In 2011, he was appointed to the Official Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment.[5]

At the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Murray campaigned against independence. He claimed to have encountered hostility from independence activists and reported that his office premises had been plastered with pro-independence "Yes" stickers,[6] which were immediately removed.

Murray was re-elected as MP for Edinburgh South at the 2015 general election, with an increased share of the vote and an increased majority. He was the only Scottish Labour MP returned.[7] He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland on 11 May 2015 by acting Labour Party leader Harriet Harman. He was re-appointed to the same role by new leader Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015.[8]

In January 2016, Jeremy Corbyn made his first frontbench reshuffle. Three shadow ministers resigned in protest and were criticised by Corbyn ally John McDonnell as being part of a "narrow right wing clique" aligned with the Blairite Progress group. Murray, a Progress member, was interviewed on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme on 10 January 2016 and criticised McDonnell, saying he should "ramp down the rhetoric".[9]

Days after the EU referendum, on 26 June 2016, Murray resigned with other members of the Shadow Cabinet, citing a lack of confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's leadership ability to win a general election.[10][11] He then nominated Owen Smith in his failed leadership challenge against Corbyn. After Corbyn's successful re-election as Labour leader with an increased majority, Murray said he would only return to Corbyn's frontbench if he reinstated Shadow Cabinet elections and stopped using the threat of deselection to enforce loyalty.[12] He later accused Corbyn of being "all over the place" on potential Labour cooperation with the SNP.[13] His replacement as Shadow Scottish Secretary Dave Anderson refused to rule out a deal with the SNP at Westminster.[14]

Prior to the 2019 general election, Murray faced the threat of deselection when Unite the Union announced it would vote to trigger an open selection. Local members refused to back such a contest so it could not proceed.[15] Following the election, he again became Labour's only MP in Scotland, but with a decreased majority of 11,095 while the party's vote share decreased by 8.5% in Scotland.[16]

On 7 January 2020, Murray announced that he would stand for election to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the deputy leadership election.[17] During the contest, he received the backing of former Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.[18] Murray finished in fourth place and was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland by new party leader Keir Starmer.[19][20]

In September 2020, it was reported that Murray had considered joining the breakaway group of MPs initially called The Independent Group, but pulled out at the last minute after deciding the move risked handing 'my seat to someone from the Corbyn wing of the party'.[21]

Murray nominated Anas Sarwar in the 2021 Scottish Labour leadership election.[22]

Personal life

Murray supports Edinburgh-based football team Hearts and was previously Chair of the 'Foundation of Hearts', a bid by a fans' group to buy-out the club from administration. He stepped down in May 2015 in order to focus on his parliamentary duties, and was duly replaced by the current Chair, Brian Cormack.[23][24] On 20 August 2020, Murray's partner Mariam gave birth to a daughter.[25]


  1. "Edinburgh,dumbryden Gardens, Dumbryden Primary School - ScotlandsPlaces". scotlandsplaces.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  2. "Ian Murray". Scottish Labour. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  3. "By-election result - City of Edinburgh Council". City of Edinburgh Council. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011.
  4. "Labour succeeds in Edinburgh South recount seat". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  5. "You Shadow BIS Team". Labour Party. 11 February 2015. Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  6. "Ian Murray row over pro-independence stickers". The Scotsman. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  7. Perraudin, Frances (4 June 2015). "Ian Murray: the last Scottish Labour MP standing". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  8. "Shadow Cabinet briefing" (PDF). Connect Communications. 14 September 2015.
  9. "Labour's Ian Murray critical of John McDonnell on Progress". BBC News. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  10. "Only Scots Labour MP Ian Murray quits shadow cabinet". BBC News. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  11. Syal, Rajeev; Perraudin, Frances; Slawson, Nicola (27 June 2016). "Shadow cabinet resignations: who has gone and who is staying". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  12. Bussey, Katrine (22 September 2016). "Ian Murray back on Labour frontbench 'if cabinet poll returns'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  13. Devlin, Kate (24 September 2016). "Murray: Corbyn is 'all over the place' on a Labour coalition with SNP". The Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  14. Devlin, Kate (10 August 2016). "New shadow Scottish Secretary refuses to rule out possible coalition with SNP". The Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  15. "Labour MP Ian Murray reselected after union attack". BBC News. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  16. "Results of the 2019 General Election in Scotland". BBC News. 13 December 2019.
  17. "Labour's only Scottish MP to run for deputy leader". BBC News. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  18. "Ian Murray gets backing of ex-PMs for Labour bid". BBC News. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  19. "Leadership and Deputy Leadership election 2020 - Results". The Labour Party. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  20. Clark, Alasdair (7 April 2020). "Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray appointed Labour's shadow Scottish secretary". Edinburgh Live. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  21. Editor, Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political. "Top Labour MP Ian Murray was on verge of quitting over Jeremy Corbyn". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 12 September 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  22. "Scottish Leadership Election 2021 - Nominations". Scottish Labour. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  23. Temple, Alan (27 May 2015). "Ian Murray steps down as Foundation chairman". The Scotsman. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  24. "Foundation of Hearts Board". Foundation of Hearts. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  25. "https://twitter.com/ianmurraymp/status/1296795826463924226". Twitter. Retrieved 6 September 2020. External link in |title= (help)