Scotland politics

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale announces new frontbench team

Kezia Dugdale Image copyright PA
Image caption Kezia Dugdale was elected Scottish Labour leader with 72% of the total vote

New Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has made just one change to the party's frontbench team at Holyrood.

Hugh Henry has stood down as justice spokesman and has been replaced by Graeme Pearson.

Ms Dugdale revealed the line-up in Edinburgh, just days after she secured the leadership of the party.

Her rival for the top post, Ken Macintosh, has been given the community spokesman role, covering housing, local government and planning.

She has also maintained a gender-balanced team, with five women joining her, alongside six men.

Ms Dugdale said: "I am excited about the future. We all know the big task that faces Scottish Labour in the months and years ahead, but we're up for it. My new team has a good mix of experience and vision to start the task of renewing Scottish Labour.

"The most important goal of any party must be to ensure that the life chances of our young people are determined by their potential, work rate and ambition, not by their background. These values will drive my team in every portfolio."

Ms Dugdale succeeded former MP Jim Murphy, who resigned in June after Labour lost 40 of its 41 Scottish seats at Westminster.


By Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent

If Labour's new team looks a lot like the old team assembled by Jim Murphy, when he was leader, then that's because it is.

The names and faces are mostly the same.

One exception is that Hugh Henry has stood down as justice spokesman, to be replaced by former police chief, Graeme Pearson.

Mr Pearson supported Ken Macintosh for the leadership but that has not prevented either of them making the frontbench.

Kezia Dugdale says she doesn't bear grudges.

She has retained Jenny Marra, Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie in the key roles of health, education and finance.

However, their remits have been expanded and their job titles rebranded to reflect Labour values - equality, opportunity, public services.

The new leader wants her team to champion what the party stands for in the run up to next year's Holyrrood elections while also holding SNP ministers to account.

Scottish Labour's new frontbench team

  • Jackie Baillie


    Public Services and Wealth Creation spokeswoman

    Jackie Baillie is a Holyrood stalwart, having joined the Scottish Parliament at its inception in 1999.

    Before politics the Hong Kong born mother-of-one worked in both the public and voluntary sectors.

    Ms Baillie was Social Justice Minister in the Labour/Lib Dem coalition from 2000 until November 2001.

    She says she is 'committed to tackling poverty and achieving social justice so that we can live in a society which is founded on fairness and justice'.

  • Jenny Marra


    Equality spokeswoman

    Jenny Marra was one of the new intake of MSPs in 2011.

    Before becoming a politician, the Dundee born St Andrews University history graduate was head of press at Dundee University.

    After a stint as a Labour spokeswoman in Brussels and Strasbourg, Ms Marra took a Scottish law degree and qualified in both Scots and English law and Scottish legal practice.

    She has previously been spokeswoman for community safety and legal affairs, youth employment and finance.

  • Ken Macintosh


    Community spokesman

    Ken Macintosh has stood for Scottish leader of his party twice – he was beaten by Johann Lamont the first time and Kezia Dugdale the second.

    Despite having been the new leader’s rival, he has accepted a role on her frontbench.

    The Inverness born former BBC producer was elected to Holyrood in 1999.

    During Labour’s coalition administration, Mr Macintosh was a ministerial parliamentary aide to former first minister Jack McConnell. In opposition, he has served as spokesman on a number of briefs including schools, skills, culture and finance.

  • Mary Fee


    Reform spokeswoman

    Mary Fee became regional MSP for the West of Scotland at the 2011 Holyrood election.

    She lives in Renfrew with her husband and two children.

    Before entering politics, Ms Fee worked for both the Bank of Scotland and British Telecom. In 1990 she took a job at a Tesco store in Renfrew where she became involved with the trade union Usdaw.

    Prior to becoming an MSP, Ms Fee cut her political teeth as an elected representative on Renfrewshire Council.

  • Graeme Pearson


    Justice spokesman

    Graeme Pearson was in the police service for 38 years before being elected to the Scottish Parliament on the south of Scotland regional list in May 2011.

    He was also director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency prior to becoming a politician.

    After leaving SCDEA, he became an honorary professor and head of Glasgow University’s Institute for the Study of Serious Organised Crime.

    Mr Pearson had held the justice spokesman role previously.

  • Iain Gray


    Opportunity spokesman

    Iain Gray is a former leader of Scottish Labour having headed the parliamentary party from September 2008 to December 2011.

    He has held four different ministerial posts, including enterprise, transport and lifelong learning, alongside past first ministers, Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell.

    Mr Gray, who became an MSP in 2007, also spent four years as a special adviser to the then secretary of state for Scotland, Alistair Darling.

    Before entering politics, he was a maths and physics teacher.

  • Neil Bibby


    Chief Whip

    Neil Bibby was elected to Holyrood in 2011 and is a regional MSP for West Scotland.

    In 2007, at the age of 23, Mr Bibby was elected to Renfrewshire Council as the Labour representative for Johnstone North, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch.

    Mr Bibby is a former chairman of Young Labour UK and chairman of Scottish Labour Students.

    He worked for former MP Jim Murphy, who lost his seat at May’s General Election, and also for MSP Ken Macintosh.

  • James Kelly


    Business Manager

    James Kelly was elected MSP for Rutherglen at the Holyrood election in 2007.

    As well as being the party’s business manager in the Scottish Parliament, he is also its 2016 election co-ordinator.

    Prior to his election to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Kelly worked for Argyll and Clyde Heath Board and ScottishPower as an analyst programmer.

    He had previously served as the election agent for the former Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Tommy McAvoy at the 1997, 2001, and 2005 general elections.

    Mr Kelly was also chairman of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West Constituency Labour Party.

  • Claire Baker


    Democracy spokeswoman

    Claire Baker entered the Scottish Parliament in 2007 after being elected MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.

    She has previously been the party’s spokeswoman on culture, Europe, rural affairs, food and the environment and education.

    Before becoming a politician Ms Baker worked as a researcher for Labour, trade union Amicus and the Royal College of Nursing.

    She was also a policy manager for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, the umbrella body for charities and community and voluntary organisations in Scotland.

  • Sarah Boyack


    Environmental Justice spokeswoman

    Sarah Boyack is a former leadership candidate for Scottish Labour, having been beaten by Jim Murphy, who at the time was MP for East Renfrewshire.

    The Glasgow University graduate became an MSP at the first Holyrood election in 1999.

    She was environment, planning and transport minister in the Labour/Lib Dem Scottish Executive from 1999 to 2000 and then transport minister from 2000 to 2001.

    Before entering politics Ms Boyack worked in planning both in England and Scotland.

  • Kezia Dugdale and Alex Rowley


    Leader and deputy leader of Scottish Labour

    Kezia Dugdale won the leadership of her party on 15 August 2015.

    She entered the Scottish Parliament in 2011 when she was elected an MSP for the Lothian Region.

    The law graduate had previously worked as an office manager and policy adviser for former MSP George Foulkes.

    Alex Rowley is one of the newest members of the Scottish Parliament having won the Cowdenbeath by-election in January 2014 following the death of MSP Helen Eadie.

    The Dunfermline born politician is a former leader of Fife Council.

    Mr Rowley had previously worked as a project officer for the TUC.

Leader - Kezia Dugdale

Deputy Leader - Alex Rowley

Covering policy and strategy

Equality spokeswoman - Jenny Marra

Covering health, equalities, welfare, care and social inclusion

Opportunity spokesman - Iain Gray

Covering schools, childcare, skills, lifelong learning, sport, science, workplace issues

Justice spokesman - Graeme Pearson

Covering justice and policing

Public Services and Wealth Creation spokeswoman - Jackie Baillie

Covering finance, infrastructure, business, delivery of public services, tourism

Community spokesman - Ken Macintosh

Covering housing, local government, cities, planning, island communities

Environmental Justice spokeswoman - Sarah Boyack

Covering transport, environment and rural affairs, land reform, climate change, energy (including oil and gas)

Democracy spokeswoman - Claire Baker

Covering constitution, Europe, culture, power in society

Reform spokeswoman - Mary Fee

Covering party and parliamentary reform

Business Manager - James Kelly

Chief Whip - Neil Bibby

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