Educated at Kirkcaldy High School and Edinburgh University alongside former Prime Minister Gordon Brown , Elder is Brown's "oldest friend" and "Widely respected as a low-profile, intellectual, calming influence on Brown." Elder's career with the Labour Party unfolded as follows:
- 1988 to 1992: General Secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland
- 1989 to 1992: Labour member of the Executive of the Scottish Constitutional Convention
- 1992 to 1994: Chief of Staff to Labour Leader John Smith
- 1997 to 1999: Special adviser to Donald Dewar at the Scottish Office
- July 1999: Ennobled
- 2000 to 2002: Member of the Lords Select Committee looking at the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England
- 2002 to 2005: Member of the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs.
A 2007 article listed Elder as 83rd in a list of those occupying 'The Left' of Labour, saying that he "is seen in the Labour Party as a Scottish statesman" and is "a key part of the Scottish mafia which straddles UK politics".
2008, Wendy Alexander's resignation
In January 2008, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request was submitted to the Electoral Commission with regard to their investigation into allegations that former Labour MSP Wendy Alexander received an illegal donation in her August 2007 campaign for leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland. The complainant separated his requests into 26 questions, including:
- 5. Has Lord Murray Elder disqualified himself from any involvement in the investigation?
- 6. Does Lord Murray Elder have any involvement in the investigation?
- 7. Has any information about the investigation been made available by the investigation team to Lord Murray Elder?
The public authority's response concluded "that the public interest favoured withholding the information".
However, by June 2008 Alexander had resigned "with deep regret" after it emerged she had broken the rules on declaring campaign donations. She accused the SNP of waging a "vexatious" campaign against her.
Contact, Resources, Notes
- Transcript of Elder's evidence to the Holyrood Inquiry, 29.10.03
- Freedom of Information request to the Electoral Commission, 24.03.10
- Info-Dynamics Research, "Where are they now? The 1997/1998 Special Advisers to the Labour Government", GMB: April 2006 Briefing, p10, accessed 12.09.10
- Staff reporter, "Gordon Brown's biggest influences: 10-1", The Telegraph, 15.02.08, accessed 28.09.10
- "Minutes of Proceedings", House of Lords, 21.07.09, accessed 28.09.10
- "Murray Elder", Commission on Scottish Devolution, accessed 28.09.10
- Staff reporter, "The Left list", The Telegraph, 23.09.07, accessed 28.09.10
- "Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Section 50) Decision Notice", Independent Commissioner's Office, 24.03.10, accessed 28.09.10
- Staff reporter, "Alexander quits as Labour leader ", BBC, 28.06.08, accessed 28.09.10