Kieran Simpson

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Kieran Simpson is a former special adviser to Labour[1] and the Head of Public Affairs for Scottish & Newcastle. He now works for Heineken UK and is part of Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network.[2]


Simpson joined the Scottish brewer Scottish & Newcastle in 2002. His role included responsibility for issues concerning legislation and regulation as well as those relating to alcohol policy. He was also responsible for the development and implementation of the company's Corporate Responsibility strategy.[3]

Kieran was appointed as a brewing representative on the Board of Directors in May 2004. He was S&N's representative on the Board of the International Center for Alcohol Policies, a member of the Scottish Ministerial Advisory Committee on Alcohol Problems (SMACAP) and a member of the Executive Board of the Brewers of Europe. [4].

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

Before joining Heineken Simpson worked for S&N and prior to that was one of the Special Advisers to the New Labour government from 1997-2002, during which time he held positions as special adviser to the Government Chief Whip, and special advisor to the former Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the Employment Minister. From 1994-1997 he worked in the Labour Party's Policy Directorate, Opposition Treasury Team and Whip's Office. Described as a long-time aide of Nick Brown, the former Agriculture Minister, Simpson was also Chair of Scottish Labour Students at Edinburgh University. Also worked on Gordon Brown’s economic team in Opposition, and in Whips’ Office.[5]

Lobbying Scottish Labour

In February 2015 Scottish Labour leader Jim 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 how closely linked Simpson and Murphy are. Having met at university, the pair have been close since, starting with their rise through Strathclyde University Labour Club in the 1980s and 1990s. During their student days Simpson was described as Murphy's 'right hand man' as when Simpson was chair of Scottish Labour students, Murphy was president of NUS Scotland. In 1997 when Murphy entered parliament as an MP, Simpson entered as a SpAd in Blair's government alongside John McTernan - now Murphy's chief of staff. In 1998 Simpson was Murphy's best man at his wedding.

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'.[6]



  1. Info-Dynamics Research, "Where are they now? The 1997/1998 Special Advisers to the Labour Government", GMB: April 2006 Briefing, p6, accessed 12.09.10
  2. Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network Department of Health 30th November 2010, Accessed 21st January 2011
  3. S&N Company Website Kieran Simpson Last Accessed October 1st 2007.
  4. Kieran Simpson's Zoom Profile Last accessed 1st October 2007.
  5. Martin McElwee,(2000), Centre for Policy Studies, THE GREAT AND GOOD? THE RISE OF THE NEW CLASS
  6. Tom Gordon Row over Murphy's link to drinks industry lobbyist Herald, 5 April 2015, accessed 14 April 2015.
  7. ERAB Website Directors Last accessed November 30th 2007