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Holyrood class of 2011: ones to watch


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Holyrood class of 2011: ones to watch

  1. 1. Holyrood Class of 2011 Ones to watchWho will be the star performers of the new Holyrood intake? MHP Communications has produced a listof those we expect to be the loudest and most listened to in the new Parliament. Some of these will befamiliar faces with new Cabinet or Ministerial positions; others less so, but already showing star potential. Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour, South of Scotland region) A former primary school teacher with a strong interest in education and arts issues, Beamish is the daughter of the Conservative life peer Tufton Victor Hamilton Beamish, Baron Chelwood. She‟s no stranger to electioneering, having contested the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale seat in the 2010 Westminster general election. Chair of the Scottish Labour Party from 2008- 2010, Claudia was on the Scottish Labour Joint Policy Group, tasked with overseeing their manifesto. The „green goddess‟ of Scottish Labour, she is a former Chair of the Socialist Environment Resources Association (SERA) Scotland, revealing a strong commitment to sustainable development and an anti-nuclear bias. Beamish will put her chairing experience to good use as convener of the Parliament‟s Equal Opportunities Committee. Marco Biagi MSP (SNP, Edinburgh Central constituency) Following the SNP equivalent of the Miliband route, Marco is a former policy advisor with SNPs parliamentary central staff. Also like the Milibands, he has strong academic credentials; having been educated at the Universities of St Andrews, California-Berkeley, Oxford and Glasgow. In a seat that was expected to go to the Lib Dems, he managed to beat Labour stalwart Sarah Boyack to gain the Edinburgh Central seat. Boyack had held the redrawn seat in its previous incarnations since the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999. Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Local Government & Planning (SNP, Clydesdale constituency) At 26 years‟ old on her election, Campbell was the youngest MSP elected to serve in the 2007–2011 session and is now the youngest Minister. Former roles include national convener of the SNP youth wing, editor of construction magazine Keystone and researcher for SNP parliamentarians Nicola Sturgeon, Shona Robison and Stewart Hosie. With delivery of some of the key SNP manifesto pledges resting with local authorities and the business community‟s keen eye on planning reform, Campbell‟s performance will be scrutinised closely. Ruth Davidson MSP (Conservative, Glasgow region) As evidenced during the election campaign, Davidson‟s journalistic background (much of which with BBC Scotland) makes her a polished media performer and we expect these communication skills to be put to good use in the Parliament. Currently her party‟s Culture spokesperson, Davidson also has a keen interest in international development. Third time lucky, she stood unsuccessfully in Glasgow North East at the 2009 by-election and 2010 general election and is tipped to be a future leader of the Scottish Conservatives.
  2. 2. Kezia Dugdale MSP (Labour, Lothian region)Despite her relative youth, Dugdale is a longstanding Labourite, having led theparliamentary office for George Foulkes MSP and as election agent to SarahBoyack MSP and Sheila Gilmore MP. She has also served time as a publicaffairs professional within the higher education field. Like Joan McAlpine, she is afrequent blogger – this level of activity will only increase now she is an MSP.Jim Eadie MSP (SNP, Edinburgh Southern constituency)Poacher turned gamekeeper, former public affairs consultant Jim Eadie has astrong background in health policy. He was previously head of the medicinesindustry trade association, ABPI Scotland and has worked for the Royal Collegeof Nursing. He also helped establish the All Party UK Warm Homes Group atWestminster to campaign against fuel poverty.Annabelle Ewing (SNP, Mid Scotland & Fife region)Newly-elected MSP Annabel Ewing is the „princess‟ of the Ewing family – theSNP‟s political dynasty. Previously an MP for Perth, Annabel will now be lookingto make her mark in Holyrood, and with her legal background she‟s unlikely toshy away from a heated debate.Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism (SNP,Inverness & Nairn constituency)Fergus is the son of the veteran Scottish Nationalist Winnie Ewing; sister ofAnnabel (above) and his late wife was Margaret Ewing MSP. Previously Ministerfor Community Safety, Fergus has now taken the higher profile reins of theEnergy, Enterprise and Tourism brief. Like his predecessor, Jim Mather, he isregarded as „pro-business‟ and will be key in pushing forward the Government‟sgreen energy agenda and cutting red tape.John Finnie MSP (SNP, Highlands & Islands region)Local councillor and former SNP Group Leader on Highland Council, Finnieserved for 30 years in the police service – the last fourteen of which as a full-timeofficial with the Scottish Police Federation – making him no stranger to lobbying.He was the SNP‟s Westminster candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch andStrathspey in the last general election and has interests spanning a number ofpolicy areas; positions have included a seat on the NHS Highland LeadershipBoard and Directorships with Highland Homeless Trust and Eden Court Theatre.So we can expect immediate interest in health and wellbeing, justice and culturefor starters.Alison Johnstone MSP (Green, Lothian region)A councillor for the Meadows/Morningside ward for the City of Edinburgh Council,Alison is another new-entrant already au fait with the workings of Holyrood,having been the assistant to Robin Harper MSP, Britain‟s first Greenparliamentarian. One of only two Green MSPs in the Parliament, she‟ll be keen toget their policy views heard.Derek Mackay MSP (SNP, Renfrewshire North and West constituency)The Leader of Renfrewshire Council (who will continue in this role until the localgovernment elections next May, but donate his councillor salary to charity) hasalready hit the ground running on the parliamentary front. He‟s a member of theScottish Parliament‟s Finance Committee and, only a few weeks into the job, hasbeen placed in the media spotlight; arguing the case for independence on STV‟sPolitics Now.
  3. 3. Jenny Marra MSP (Labour, North East Scotland region) A qualified lawyer, PR-savvy Dundonian and sister of Scottish Labour advisor Michael Marra, Jenny‟s previous roles have included Head of Press at Dundee University and acting as a spokesperson for the Labour MEPs. Not afraid to address political „hot potatoes‟, she took an opposing view to her Labour colleague Thomas Docherty MP on the AV referendum, voting „ yes‟ and arguing the case against his „no‟ stance. Joan McAlpine MSP (SNP, South of Scotland region) Scotsman columnist and prolific, award-winning blogger, Joan is unlikely to be a shrinking violet in the Parliament. She used her maiden speech to address devolution of the Crown Estate Commission – “the injustice of one remote organisation taxing and controlling the seabed is unjust...”, but her interests span across the policy spectrum. Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment (SNP, Airdrie and Shotts constituency) Alex Neil is a familiar face in the Scottish Parliament and respected across the political spectrum. Now MSP for Airdrie and Shotts constituency, his previous roles have included Minister for Housing and Communities and Convener of the Parliament‟s Enterprise & lifelong Learning Committee. Before „jumping ship‟ to the SNP, Neil joined the Labour Party in the mid 1960s, including a spell as Senior Researcher for the Labour Party in Scotland. Now with the newly-created Infrastructure and Capital Investment portfolio, all eyes will be on Neil in the current economic climate. Willie Rennie, (Lib Dem, Mid Scotland and Fife region) Former lobbyist and MP for Dunfermline, Willie Rennie is no political novice. Used to „cracking the whip‟, Rennie has been Chief Executive of the Scottish Lib Dems and Chief of Staff for the party in Holyrood. Rennie has been a runner-up in the „Scottish Coal Carrying Championships‟ and is a keen hill runner; which should come in useful given the mountain his party will have to climb in regaining favour with the Scottish electorate. Humza Yousaf (SNP, Glasgow region) A new MSP, but well-versed in the workings of the Scottish Parliament, Yousaf worked for Scotland‟s first Muslim MSP, the late Bashir Ahmed. He has also worked for First Minister Alex Salmond and his Deputy, Nicola Sturgeon. With such „friends in high places‟, Yousaf looks like a good bet to join the ministerial ranks in the future.To find out more about how MHP Communications can help you navigate the new Scottish political landscape, contact Craig Harrow or June Deasy on 0131 226 3333, e-mail |