Sarah Herriot Boyack (born 16 May 1961) is a Scottish Labour Party politician serving as Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Lothian region since 2019, and previously from 2011 to 2016. She was formerly constituency MSP for Edinburgh Central from the 1999 Scottish Parliament election.
Boyack in 2010
|Minister for Transport and Planning|
19 May 1999 – 27 November 2001
|First Minister||Donald Dewar|
Jim Wallace (Acting)
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Wendy Alexander (Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning)|
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
|Assumed office |
15 July 2019
|Preceded by||Kezia Dugdale|
5 May 2011 – 23 March 2016
|Member of the Scottish Parliament|
for Edinburgh Central
6 May 1999 – 5 May 2011
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Marco Biagi|
Sarah Herriot Boyack
16 May 1961
|Political party||Scottish Labour Party|
(m. 2000; div. 2003)
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow|
Early life and career
Boyack was born in Glasgow and brought up in Edinburgh. Her father, Jim Boyack, was an important figure in the Labour Party and the campaign for Scottish devolution. She was educated at the state comprehensive Royal High School, Edinburgh, where she was one of the first female pupils.
Starting in 1979, Boyack studied Modern History and Politics at the University of Glasgow, graduating with a Scottish MA Honours degree. She became active in the Labour club, where she was a protégé of Margaret Curran. She was chair of the Labour club from 1981 until 1982, and chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students from 1985 until 1986. During her time at Glasgow University, she was involved in supporting the twinning with Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. After graduating from Glasgow, she gained a Diploma in Town and Country Planning at Heriot-Watt University.
Boyack worked as a town planner in the London Borough of Brent then as a strategic planner in Central Regional Council in Stirling. She then became a lecturer at the School of Planning and Housing at Heriot-Watt University and was Convener of the Scottish Branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1997.
Member of the Scottish Parliament: 1999–2016
Boyack was elected to the new Scottish Parliament in the 1999 election for the Edinburgh Central constituency. She was Minister for Transport and the Environment in the Scottish Executive from 1999 until 2000. Then, she was Minister for Transport and Planning from 2000 until 2001, during which time she introduced one of Scottish Labour's flagship policies of free bus travel for people over 60 and disabled people.
Re-elected for her constituency in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, Boyack was elected by MSPs as Convener of the Scottish Parliament Environment and Rural Development Committee in June 2003. In this role, she received the RSPB Goldcrest Award in November 2004 for the most outstanding contribution to the development of environmental policy in Scotland since devolution. Later, in December 2005, she was named the Scottish Renewables Best Politician. She stood down from the committee in January 2007, when she returned to the Scottish Executive as Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development.
Boyack lost her Edinburgh Central constituency seat in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election to Marco Biagi of the Scottish National Party (SNP). However, she was elected on the Lothian regional list as one of seven additional members. Following a landslide victory by the SNP in the election, Boyack co-chaired a review of the Labour Party in Scotland with Jim Murphy, commissioned by Ed Miliband in May 2011 and which reported back in Autumn of that year.
Outside the Scottish Parliament: 2016–2019
Boyack again contested the Edinburgh Central seat in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, but was defeated by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who stood for the same constituency. Boyack was also placed third on the Lothian regional list of Labour candidates behind Kezia Dugdale and Neil Findlay, but did not return to Holyrood following the election since Labour won only two list seats.
Return following Kezia Dugdale's resignation: 2019–present
On 30 April 2019, it was announced Boyack would return to the Scottish Parliament as a list MSP, following Kezia Dugdale's decision to vacate her seat in the summer. As an unsuccessful Labour candidate on the Lothian regional list in 2016, Boyack was the next person on the list if a seat was vacated. In September 2019, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard made her Spokesperson for Local Government.
Boyack married former long-term partner Andrew Walters in December 2000. They had planned to marry in the October but postponed the wedding due the death of Donald Dewar. The couple divorced in 2003 and they had no children together.
- Transport and the Environment (1999–2000)
- "Sarah Herriot BOYACK - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Profile: Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour leadership candidate". BBC. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Christine Richard (22 May 2008). "Sarah Boyack's glass is not just half full – it's positively fizzing!". Lothian Life. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "Sarah Boyack – Personal Information". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Kate Shannon (March 2012). "A new brief puts the focus on spending prioities". Holyrood Magazine Supplement. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Centenary awards – The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 1 November 2005. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
- "New Communities Minister". Scotland.gov.uk. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- Wintour, Patrick (11 May 2011). "Ed Miliband orders review of Scottish Labour party". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Rivals braced for Labour leadership race". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Scottish Labour leadership: MSP Sarah Boyack is first candidate to stand". BBC. 28 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "MP Jim Murphy named Scottish Labour leader". BBC. 13 December 2014. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- McPherson, Gareth (6 May 2016). "Holyrood no more — eight former MSPs who will be looking for new jobs". The Courier. D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- Swanson, Ian (6 May 2016). "Holyrood 2016: Lothian list MSPs in full". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Press. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
- "Former Labour MSP appointed as head of public affairs at SFHA". Holyrood Magazine. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
- "Sarah Boyack to return to Holyrood as Labour MSP". BBC News. BBC. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- "Scottish Labour reshuffle as Sarah Boyack returns to frontline politics". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Boyack separates from husband". The Scotsman. 21 June 2003. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.