Jeremy Ross Balfour (born 11 March 1967) is a Scottish Scottish Conservative Party politician who is a Member of Scottish Parliament for the Lothian region, elected in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.
Balfour in 2016
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
|Assumed office |
6 May 2016
|Born||11 March 1967|
|Political party||Scottish Conservative Party|
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh|
London Bible College
Early life and career
Balfour was born in Edinburgh, where he attended the independent Edinburgh Academy and then studied at the University of Edinburgh. After working as a solicitor, he studied at London Bible College to become a Baptist minister. He also worked as a lobbyist for the Evangelical Alliance and, in that role, called for Halloween to be banned due to a "growing movement towards the darker side". From 2004 to 2014, Balfour was director of right-wing think tank Scottish Council on Human Bioethics. Balfour distanced himself from the think-tank after it emerged it had produced a report questioning the morality of victims of rape who take the morning-after pill.
Balfour was elected to City of Edinburgh Council, representing the Corstorphine/Murrayfield ward.
In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, Balfour stood for the Scottish Parliament as the Conservative candidate for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, where he came third. He was instead elected from the Lothian regional list. Shortly after being elected, Balfour became Scottish Conservative spokesperson for childcare and early years and joined the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
In 2018, Balfour came under pressure to resign as the Scottish Conservative’s welfare spokesperson for suggesting that terminally-ill people who don’t die within three years should be re-assessed for benefits. He refused to apologise for the remarks, but was forced to withdraw the amendment to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.
Balfour has a physical disability which left him with no left arm and a right arm that ends at the elbow from which two elongated fingers protrude. Balfour is the only MSP in the 2016–21 Scottish Parliament who openly identifies as a disabled person.
- "Disability is no obstacle in my life". scotsman. 24 November 2005.
- "Tory MSP called for Halloween to be banned due to 'growing movement towards the darker side'". Daily Record. 31 October 2016.
- "Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour under fire over think tank's 'disturbing' views on rape victims". Daily Record. 15 August 2016.
- "Midlothian North and Musselburgh". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Lothian". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Scottish Conservative appointments for new parliamentary term". Scottish Conservative Party. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
- "Membership". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "Views on terminally ill benefit claimants". Daily Record. 8 February 2018.
- "Inclusion Scotland highlight the lack of disabled MSPs". Falkirk Herald. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.