Jim Murphy

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Jim Murphy was the Labour Party member of parliament (MP) for Renfrewshire East (formerly Eastwood) from 1997 to 2015. He was elected leader of Scottish Labour in December 2014 and tendered his resignation on 16 May 2015,[1] following the catastrophic loss of all but one Labour MPs in Scotland in the 2015 General Election.

Murphy lost his seat in the 2015 general election to the Scottish National Party's Kirsten Oswald by 3,718 votes.[2]

Early Life

Murphy grew up in a council estate in Glasgow, before moving to South Africa for six years with his parents in search of a 'better life'. During this time Murphy became appalled at the inequality of the apartheid system in South Africa and left when he was 18 to avoid conscription into the country's army.[3]

Murphy then attended Strathclyde University, however did not complete his degree.[3] In 1992, whilst still at university, he was elected president of the National Union of Students Scotland and in 1994 as president of the UK National Union of Students, serving until 1996. In 1995, under Murphy's leadership, the NUS dropped its opposition to the abolition of the student grant in line with the Labour Party's policies, which led to Murphy being condemned by a House of Commons Early Day Motion signed by 17 Labour MPs for 'intolerant and dictatorial behaviour'.[4]


Murphy was elected as the member of parliament for Eastwood in 1997 (renamed Renfrewshire East in 2005), beating the Conservative's Paul Cullen by 6.2 percent. Since the '97 election Murphy has comfortably held the seat, winning by over 15 percent in each election and even obtaining over half of the vote in 2010.[5]

Whilst in Parliament, Murphy has held the roles of Murphy served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Helen Liddell as Secretary of State for Scotland (2001-2002), Assistant Whip to HM Treasury (2002-2003), Lord Commissioner to HM Treasury (2003-2005), Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Cabinet Office (2005-2006), Minister of State to the Department for Work and Pensions (2006-2007) and to Europe (2007-2008), Secretary of State for Scotland (2008-2010) and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland (2010), Defence (2010-2013) and International Development (2013-2014).[6]

On the 13th of December 2014 it was announced Murphy had been appointed leader of Scottish Labour, replacing Johann Lamont who left the role in October.[7]

Scottish independence

Murphy was at the forefront of the 'Vote No' campaign, wanting the union to stay together. He set off on a tour to visit 100 streets in 100 days to speak to locals about the referendum, however this was interrupted when he had an egg thrown at him by a 'Vote Yes' voter.[8][9]

Murphy's role during the referendum has been criticised by many who claim he used it to apply pressure on the Johann Lamont, the then Scottish Labour leader, and to show off his own his skills for the job.


In 2011, Wikileaks via the Telegraph, reported that throughout 2009 Murphy played a leadership role in organising the opposition parties as he hoped to move towards Scotland implementing the Calman recommendations as an alternative to an independence referendum. [10]


In 2012 Murphy was revealed as one of 27 MPs who were using a loophole to claim public money to rent in London but also renting out the house at the same time.[11]

Alcohol lobbying

Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.

In February 2015 Murphy announced he wanted to restart the sale of alcohol inside Scottish football grounds, arguing it worked well in England. In April 2015 the Scottish Herald announced Murphy might be acting on behalf of his university friend, best man at his wedding in 1998 and global public affairs manager at brewer Heineken - Kieran Simpson. Simpson, former SpAd in Blair's government, has been described as Murphy's 'right hand man' in their students days when Simpson was chair of Scottish Labour students and Murphy was president of NUS Scotland.

The SNP have said Murphy should have been 'upfront about the link when he championed drink sales and should now say if he was lobbied on the subject', Labour have 'dismissed the suggestion of anything improper as "utter nonsense"' and Heineken have 'denied Simpson had any discussions about alcohol at Scottish games'.[12]



  • Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. Donated an estimated £1,437 for a visit to the Philippines in December 2013 to 'visit Cebu and Tacloban to assess and observe the relief effort following Typhoon Haiyan'.[14]
  • World Vision UK. Donated an estimated £1677.38 for Murphy and a staff member to visit Lebanon and Jordan in March 2014 to 'assess the humanitarian situation resulting from the Syrian crisis, understand the plight of Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them and to see the work of the charity'.[14]
  • Trade Union Congress. Donated an estimated £2,675.99 for Murphy and a staff member to visit Qatar in April 2014 to 'observe the conditions of migrant workers in Qatar'.[14]
  • The Maureen and David Garrard Foundation. Donated £1,570.00 to Murphy in September 2012 'to visit and deliver a keynote speech at the Herzliya, 12th Annual World Summit on Counter-Terrorism Conference.' [15]

Special advisers

Contact, References and Resources


Address: House of Commons,
Telephone: 020 7219 4615
Email: jimmurphymp@parliament.uk

External resources


  1. Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy to resign BBC News, 16 May 2015.
  2. BBC News Renfrewshire East, accessed 15 May 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mandy Rhodes Interview: Jim Murphy Holyrood, 1 February 2010, accessed 7 January 2015
  4. James Murphy Politics.co.uk', accessed 7 January 2015
  5. Renfrewshire East Guardian, accessed 7 January 2015
  6. Jim Murphy Parliament.UK, accessed 7 January 2015
  7. MP Jim Murphy named Scottish Labour leader BBC News, 13 December 2014, accessed 7 January 2015
  8. Jim Murphy Independence: Jim Murphy on ‘100 Towns, 100 Days’ Scotsman, 4 July 2014, accessed 7 January 2015
  9. Tamara Cohen and Khaleda Rahman 'Call off your yobs': Egg attack MP suspends campaign against Scottish independence over intimidation by nationalist 'mobs' Daily Mail, 29 August 2014, accessed 7 January 2015
  10. Scotland: Independence referendum not moving forward in January Telegraph, 4 February 2011, accessed 7 January 2015
  11. Jim Murphy named among 27 MPs in new expenses row Herald Scotland, 19 October 2012, accessed 7 January 2015
  12. Tom Gordon Row over Murphy's link to drinks industry lobbyist Herald, 5 April 2015, accessed 14 April 2015.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Alex Doherty and David Miller Even by New Labour standards, Murphy has a grim record Spinwatch, 15 December 2014, accessed 7 January 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Jim Murphy The Work For You, accessed 7 January 2015
  15. Electoral Commission, Donation Search, accessed 25 March 2015
  16. Jim Murphy shakes up Scottish Labour’s senior staff team Labour List, 9 January 2015, accessed 26 January 2015
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Victoria Weldon Murphy appoints new comms team, including two with controversial past Herald Scotland, accessed 26 January 2015