Ian Murray is a Scottish Labour Party politician
Murray’s political career started in 2003 as an Edinburgh City councillor when he stood for the Council elections in Liberton and won a seat. He later represented the Liberton, Gilmerton ward from 2007 to 2010. He has been the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South since 2010.
At Westminster he has served on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee. In 2011, he was appointed to the Shadow front bench, and served as Shadow Trade and Investment Minister, where his responsibilities included trade and investment, export licensing, postal affairs and employment relations.
He is a member of Amnesty International, USDAW Union, Progress and the Fabian Society.
Brought up in the Wester Hailes area of Edinburgh, he attended Dumbryden primary school, then Wester Hailes Education Centre. He went on to study Social Policy and Law at the University of Edinburgh graduating with an Honours degree.
After University he went on to work at the Royal Blind, then in pensions management. After this he took up employment with an Edinburgh based internet television station.
The company went bust and Murray decided to set-up his own event management company, “100 mph Events Ltd.” He retained a major share holding in the company after taking up the duties of MP.
He has a long-term partner Hannah Catherine Woolfson, who is descended from Lithuanian Jews who were emigrating to America but got off the boat in Greenock because the sea sickness was unbearable.
He employed her, as a Casual Junior Secretary, until May 2012. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/110124/part2.htm
He owns a half share in a house in Edinburgh, which he shares with his partner Hannah, from which rental income is derived. (Registered 29 June 2011)
Ian Murray’s self penned Biography
As an event manager, Ian ran the largest arts festival in Europe for 7 years, during which time he was involved in television production, artistic programming, sponsorship and financial management and all other areas of the business from building scaffolding to presenting artists.
Ian’s proudest moment as an event manager was his concert with Billy Bragg, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Earle, Joan Baez and Emmy-Lou Harris, which raised over £100,000 for the Landmine for a Free World Charity in 2004.
Ian’s event management experience has included organising live music concerts and broadcasting over the internet, from various of Edinburgh’s large music venues.
Comment: If you voted Labour at the last Westminster election. You need to take a long hard look at this. I’m struggling to work out the truths and what are the not so truths. Murray which large arts festival did you run for 7 years? http://www.ianmurraymp.co.uk/biography.html
February 2010: Murray late nomination for the Edinburgh South constituency – Scandal Hit Nigel Griffiths stands down
Griffiths, who was criticised during the MPs’ expenses scandal when he claimed for a 3,600 plasma television, is eligible for the cash payment to help him “adjust” to life outside Parliament.
Half of the payment is tax-free. The Edinburgh MP is also eligible for a winding-up allowance designed to help with the expenses of running down a constituency office.
But news of the payment and Mr Griffiths’s new job have been decried as “unacceptable” by campaigners in the wake of simmering public anger surrounding the MPs’ expenses scandal.
Martin Bell, the former MP who has written a book on the expenses saga, said: “It is quite reasonable for an MP who leaves at the behest of an election defeat to get this payment.
But I would have thought, if they have already lined up a job before leaving office, they should not be paid the money because it has come from the taxpayer.”
It was widely predicted that Griffiths would have struggled to retain his Edinburgh South seat following a sex scandal in 2008.
The former minister allegedly had an intimate encounter with a brunette in his Westminster office.
The 54-year-old, who has been married for 30 years, later apologised for engaging in sexual activity in his House of Commons office.
He said he was ashamed of his actions, which he said fell below acceptable standards.
The Scotsman revealed yesterday that Griffiths told party members in his constituency that he would not be standing for re-election and would instead take up a job with an “international educational institution”.
April 2010: Murray Campaign gets nasty early – Sign of things to come?
The 2010 General Election campaign was barely four hours old when the first serious spat erupted between Labour and the Conservatives in Edinburgh South.
Ian Murray, the Labour candidate, had distributed leaflets claiming that an incoming Tory government would put at risk a whole series of pensioner benefits, including winter fuel payments and free TV licences.
The Tories were furious, insisting that they had promised categorically and publicly, on many occasions, that they would not cut these benefits.
One senior Tory source said: “These are just wrong. We have made it crystal clear that we are not going to do these things, but Ian Murray has put them out anyway.
It is outrageous.” Mr Murray hit back yesterday by insisting he did not trust the Conservatives’ promises anyway so he was right to “pose the question” about what might be at risk if the Tories win the election.
Early warning for anyone intending to run for political office against Murray. He gets into the gutter very early on and will broadcast anything to gain advantage regardless 0f truth.
September 2012: “People want entrepreneurs to earn money through hard work” The Thought’s of Ian Murray MP
Public spending: Other members of the Labour shadow cabinet have put forward ideas, like shadow home office minister Stella Creasy’s suggestion of a “zero budget” spending review.
Creasy’s idea would be to put everything “on the table” in order to “reassess every single item of departmental public spending”. In short, everything (even the NHS) would be put under the microscope.
You could wonder if Creasy was speaking out of turn, or at least, not representing Labour’s stance on the economy.
As part of Labour’s business team, would Murray agree with her? “Absolutely, if you start from a zero budget spending review, you can always work forward if you have money available.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong in saying that you have to look at where your money is best spent.”
I remind Murray that the “zero budget” would mean that even things like the NHS would not be safe from the scalpel.
Former chancellor Nigel Lawson once compared the health service to the closest thing Britain has to a national religion.
Surely Labour would want to protect it? “It is a very emotive topic, people want more money spent on the NHS and that is absolutely right.” But, does that mean Labour would keep the NHS off the table?
“It shouldn’t be exempt, on the basis of the government are spending £2bn on a top-down reorganisation on it.
So if you don’t exempt the NHS and say we’re going to look at spending on the NHS, maybe you could spend that £2bn differently.”
Murray is very sharp and well versed in Labour policy, But in trying to ensure equality and “fairness”, how can Labour seriously encourage businesses to succeed?
After all, entrepreneurs are the engine of inequality. You can’t have buccaneering tycoons making millions and have greater income equality.
After a palpable pause, Murray scoffs “That is a first year university course exam paper question!”
Pointing to his experience as small business owner, he goes on to ask “Do you need an unequal society to make that successful”?
Bob Crow and RMT: Would he be so warm about Bob Crow, after the RMT’s repeated tube strikes in London?
“First thing I’d like to say is Bob Crow is not affiliated to the Labour party in any way” he rushes to make clear.
But would he condone the RMT’s tendency to threaten strikes in order to get their pay rises?
“If you feel as if you’re being done a disservice and you’re asking your staff to go above and beyond the call of duty and the biggest level you’d got is we’d scupper that, you’d use that wouldn’t you?” he replies gnomically.
Murray defends the idea of RMT tube drivers getting bonuses as “we’re talking about a few hundred pounds to some low paid workers, I don’t see what the problem is”.
The problem, I remind him, is that the average salary of a tube driver is £45,000.
The national average salary is £26,200, while a nurse starts out on £22,000.
Even a trainee tube driver starts out on near £40,000. If he can defend tube driver bonuses as “absolutely right”, what about their salaries?
His first answer is to admit “I’m not really aware of how much tube drivers are paid”.
After I repeat the figure down the phone, the Labour business minister asks “is that a basic salary without overtime?”
I read out quote from a London Underground official in full, saying “Tube drivers earn a fixed salary of around £44,545 per annum plus benefits”.
Finally, Murray answers: “Well, you know, salary levels for any organisation is based on what the market will provide at any time.”
This is odd. Unions exist to buck the market. They use the threat of mass disobedience to ensure pay levels are a premium of what the market would provide.
I probe further. Does Murray believe the tube driver pay is about right?
“I’m not getting into any discussion on whether they should be paid less or more. If that’s what TfL is paying tube drivers, then that’s what they’re worth,” he replies.
He swerves away from answering if that means Bob Crow has done a good job in getting such a bumper pay package for his members.
However, he adds enigmatically: “You’re comparing a £44-45k to £22k. But you’re comparing someone who has worked a long time in the tubes with a newly qualified nurse.”
However, he insists that he was not making the distinction based on experience, adding:
“You can create any argument you wish by taking the extremities of both. You can say a junior consultant earns X and should they be paid less a tube driver?”
* How can an employment minister not know what the average national salary is?
That’s like a Tube driver not knowing when to stop at red signals.
Oh, hang on, they don’t know when to stop at red signals – hence all the “signal failures”.
Presumably a nurse still knows how to help save lives however.
Yet Murray still defends Tube drivers’ salaries and bonus demands? Unforgivable.
* It appears the labour party will subject the NHS to another 5 years of turmoil with a comprehensive zero-based budget approach. How sad.
March 2013: The Workfare Bill
The House of Commons passed the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which included a clause that retroactively changed the law to prevent back payment of approximately £130 million worth of benefits that had been found by a court decision to have been wrongly withheld.
The under-noted Scottish MP’s voted against the Bill in the belief that monies owed to claimants should be made since to do so would constitute an illegal act.
Ian Murray’s name is not on the list. He and many of his Labour party colleagues let the poorest members of society down badly.
Note the SNP were 100% in favour of payments being made.
6 of 6 (100%) of SNP MPs:
Stewart Hosie, Angus MacNeil, Angus Robertson, Mike Weir, Eilidh Whiteford, Pete Wishart.
7 of 40 (18%) Labour MPs:
Katy Clark, Michael Connarty, Ian Davidson, Mark Lazarowicz, Jim McGovern, Sandra Osborne, Jim Sheridan
Murray rented an office owned by a trust fund controlled by ex MP Nigel Griffiths.
Is that best value for the taxpayers, or was he extending the largesse?
Labour MP Murray paid £5,847.74 office rent to Nigel Griffiths, who used to represent the Edinburgh South seat.
Griffiths quit Parliament in shame in 2010 admitting cheating on his wife with a mystery brunette in the House of Commons.
Ian Murray – 2012 /13 Expenses Breakdown
In addition to his £66,396 a year salary he claimed the highest amount of any Lothian MP for his energy bill of over £747.
Good to see taxpayers paying for an early energy freeze for MPs when many are struggling to heat their homes.
He also claimed an additional £181,840 in expenses, including the third highest amount in the UK for his Constituency Office at £26,593 which is crazy as since devolution Scottish MPs have fewer responsibilities than English MPs.
The Office expenses don’t include his staff salaries amounting to £121,430 which also provides extra household income by employing his partner as a secretary.
Total Approximate Cost 5 year parliament: £370,000 x 5 = £1,850,000
April 2014: Smeargate 2014 Referendum Campaign
In 2014 Murray alleged that supporters of Scottish Independence had vandalised his office.
Critics claimed there was no evidence to support the allegation and accused Murray of “smearing” Scottish nationalists.
He subsequently said the office had been plastered with pro-independence “Yes” stickers, which had been removed.
It surfaced soon after that his claims were a load of tosh. See comments submitted by locals.:
* Murray has done himself no favours with this claim. A few stickers, if there were even stickers in the first place, could hardly be described as “completely outrageous”. It is certainly not a police matter.
* Perhaps he should remove his pro Labour propaganda from the windows of his constituency office now he represents all the constituency not just Labour voters? He has contact details for Labour councillors but no other party in the area. Is that even legal Ian?
* You decided to move into a high profile shop on a very busy street for the simple reason to boost your profile. Don’t get too upset if someone puts a sticker on your window. Some of your constituents have to put up with far worse harassment.
* I would encourage people to check out his twitter account and the picture he put up, it is of the graffiti on the doors that has been there for several months not yes stickers.
* Own goal Mr Murray, own goal.
* Typical bluster from a minor politician. Anyone who considers this the sort of thing that needs reported to the police (informally or otherwise) needs a serious reality check.
* I wonder did he report the much more tangible ‘vandalism’ to the front door?
* Once again shoddy journalism reporting this as SNP stickers. There was no suggestion of this and the only picture, of a solitary sticker, says ‘Yes 2014’.
* Really…12 stickers The photos I’ve seen are 1 yes only 1 sticker with YES 2014 on it.
* Mega expenses Murray can’t even get his story right. Yes stickers become Yes flyers or Yes Scotland stickers or even SNP stickers.
* His attempt to smear the Yes campaign with unsubstantiated claims of vandalism and threats to his staff on the basis that some prankster put a couple of stickers on his scruffy graffiti strewn front door has rebounded spectacularly.
* Surely his £181,840 A year expenses claims could have bought a pot of matching paint during the two years his constituency office door has been a mess.
* It’s just not right. Nothing can be funnier than politicians and no-one could be as offensive as the moonlighting MP. Sooner this guy capitulates from public life the better.
* His staff removed the stickers shortly after they were stuck on his office. So now we have more witnesses. What did the staff say? (Might be an idea to remove some of that grass and weeds fae under the windae anaw.)
* Murray was caught out trying to smear the pro independence campaign, by claiming his offices were vandalised. Now that IS a serious claim. One thinks of smashed windows or paint daubed on the walls or graffiti.
* When people heard about the vandalism, they went to look and do you what readers, there wasn’t any evidence of such, in fact NOTHING. All except for a botched up paint job on the door from earlier (as in 2012) piece of actual vandalism committed by kids. You can tell its old as you can see the exact same state from Google street view. Despite all these expenses Murray cant be bothered to get the door properly painted!
* So what was this act of ‘vandalism’ claimed by Murray? Well he later changed his story to one where someone had placed a generic ‘Scotland 2014’ sticker on one of the windows. Yes that’s One single sticker, he even posted a picture of it.
* Sad thing is other Labour politicians have jumped on the bandwagon, such as Curran, to slate the SNP, who have nothing to do with this. This seems a common occurrence from labour, where they roll out the smear, which turns out not to be all quite what it seems
Critics argued the move to limit what working families, pensioners, and those on disability benefits can receive from the government would plunge hard-up families from some of the most impoverished areas of Scotland further into poverty.
(Another view of the nonsense)
Labour insisted nobody who was entitled to benefits would be left out and added that the new measures would hold the government accountable for their actions.
He said: “You can’t stop people getting benefits. you only qualify only if you are entitled. That’s the rules.
Maria Muir was scathing (on her blog) about the conduct of Robertson and his fellow Labour MP’s.
Commenting Eilidh Whiteford (SNP) MP said: “The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low-income families.
This cap is just a crude, blunt, instrument. It is shocking that so many Scottish Labour MPs have backed the Tories.”
Shame on you Scottish Labour:
welfare cap means more childhood poverty:
Labour supports welfare cap:
The word AUSTERITY was introduced to the Scottish public big time as a result of this appalling legislation which brought about great hardship.
Food banks and other charitable organisations took over the care of the nations poor from the Con/Dem government and the Labour party who had supported them in the attack on the nations sick, poor and needy.
Disgracefully the same Scottish labour MP’s will submit their names for re-election in May 2015. Surely the electorate will deny them that privilege.
January 2015: Scottish Labour MPs vote to back Tory cuts
It has been revealed 28 Scottish Labour MPs (including Ian Murray) voted with the UK government for £75billion of cuts and tax rises.
Commenting, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:
“Labour have shown their true colours in siding with the Tories, and it shows now even more clearly that only by voting SNP can Westminster’s obsession with imposing austerity cuts – that just don’t work – be changed.
Osborne is committed to continued austerity which will hit Scottish public services and tonight he has been backed by Scottish Labour.
The Scottish Labour MPs who voted tonight with the Tories represent some of the areas which have been hardest hit by government austerity measures, and it will be ordinary, hard-working people in their constituencies who will continue to suffer.”
February 2015: Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee attacks the Labour Party for accepting support from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
A number of Labour MPs have received more than £540,000 in research assistance from the firm in the past 18 months alone.
Ian Murray has been provided with the services of a PricewaterhouseCoopers research assistant, supporting him in his role at the Independent Export Commission (November 2014 – May 2015.) Total value of secondment £45,000.
Murray is researching the internal workings of “TTIP” the much hyped US World trade agreement which PricewaterhouseCoopers is in support of.
That suggests a conflict of interest, particularly as Margaret Hodge, the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said it was ‘inappropriate’ to accept unpaid help from the firm accused by MPs of promoting tax avoidance schemes on an ‘industrial scale’.
Lovers of blood sports enjoyed a very special treat on this morning’s Sunday Politics Scotland, as Gordon Brewer got his teeth firmly around the throat of hapless Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray and shook him like a rag doll for ten toe-curling minutes.
We have the clip for you. Brewer was having so much fun tormenting Murray by repeatedly demanding an answer to the question of whether his party would rule out an electoral deal with the SNP that he didn’t notice when, at about the 15th time of asking, he actually got one.
April 2015: If zero hours contracts are so bad, how come 68 Labour MPs Employed Staff on Them?
Ed Miliband blasted David Cameron and big business over zero hours contracts – and pledged to stick up for ordinary workers who are being “exploited.”
Speaking in Yorkshire, the Labour leader raged:
“Less than a week ago, you may have heard the Prime Minister say that he couldn’t live on a zero hours contract. Well, I couldn’t live on a zero hours contract either. I’ve got a simple principle – if it is not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you and it’s not good enough for Britain. “That’s the way I will run our country. One rule for all.”
But there was one small problem for Ed. It was revealed by the pay and expenses watchdog IPSA that a large number of Labour MPs employed workers on “zero hours” contracts.
A damning list of 68 (nearly a quarter of the Labour parliamentary party) included Ed Balls, Lucy Powell, Karen Buck, and Ian Murray.
Labour insist their MPs only use the casual contracts to hire interns or students on flexible deals.
But Steve Turner, Unite regional officer, said last year: “Parliament passed the laws that are supposed to protect pay and conditions. “Our MPs ought to be upholding them, setting a high standard for employers.”
November 2014: Commons-Hansard – Zero Hours Contracts Bill – Second Reading
Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab): Today, I am fighting for the same thing that people of every generation have fought for: the right to decent and secure conditions and terms of employment.
It is not a great ask. A well-paid and steady job is the bedrock on which people build their lives.
It is the starting point for planning for the future, and the platform of stability needed to pay the bills, meet the rent, pay the mortgage and start a family.
Those are not extravagances, but the minimum that should be available to any person who is prepared to work to pay their way in a wealthy nation such as ours. Yet that stability and security is denied to millions of workers in this country.
Increasingly, people are finding themselves plagued by job insecurity, not knowing from one day to the next whether they will be working or earning.
In recent years, the rise in the number of those feeling insecure at work is worrying. Nowhere is that clearer than in the explosion in the use of zero-hours contracts.
As recently as last year, the coalition was claiming that slightly more than 200,000 people were employed on zero-hours contracts.
The true figure, as revealed by the Office for National Statistics, was in fact seven times higher than Government Ministers admitted – a staggering 1.4 million people engaged in zero-hours employment contracts.as been startling.
Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) (Lab): Although unemployment has gone down in this country, the tax-take to the Treasury from income tax has stayed flat, despite the Treasury predicting a huge increase. That shows that we have under-employment and a massive explosion in zero-hours contracts.
Double standards Mr Murray. You are guilty as charged employing staff on zero hours contracts yourself.
Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): To be perfectly honest, I must say, and we need to get this on the record before the clock counts us out, that it is a bit rich for the Labour party to come here en masse to pretend that they are massively opposed to zero-hours contracts, when if one believes what one reads in the press – I am one of those who does, rightly or wrongly – it appears that some of the worst offenders are not only Labour councils, but Labour MPs.
I do not know whether any of those in the Chamber want to fess up today, but perhaps those who skulked out quietly at the start of this debate are the guilty parties.
April 2015: Labour MP breaks ranks over Trident
Murray said he had a “different view on Trident” to the Labour leadership and also suggested he would be prepared to vote against his own party on the issue in the House of Commons.
The shadow minister, who is seeking re-election as the MP for Edinburgh South, is thought to be the first member of Miliband’s front bench team to deviate from the official Labour line of being fully committed to renewing Trident.
When asked whether he would be prepared to face being sacked from Labour’s front bench for voting with the SNP against Trident, Mr Murray said: “I’m more than happy to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The Labour politician said it would be “bonkers” if he allowed concerns about being in the same House of Commons lobby as the SNP on the Trident issue to dictate his position, which he insisted was a matter of principle rather than party loyalty.
He said: “I have a different view on Trident. The party position is the party position. I’ve made it clear that I wouldn’t support it [Trident].”
January 2015: Angus Robertson SNP Called for the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland and abandonment of the proposed Trident replacement.
On conclusion of the debate a vote was conducted. 35 MP’s voted with Angus Robertson in favour of cancelling the Trident replacement. Murray failed to vote. So much for being anti Trident.
Scottish Labour immediately leapt on the article and demanded Mr Hay be sacked as the candidate, less than two weeks before the election.
It is not possible to replace a candidate at such a late stage – many voters had already voted by post – and if applied would have handed the seat by default to the Labour candidate, Ian Murray
As it unravelled the story turned out to be an absurd, massive exaggeration and misrepresentation of reality.
But it also exposed a level of naked, shameless dishonesty and hypocrisy in Scottish Labour, and in particular its deputy leader Kezia Dugdale.
Below is an extract from First Ministers Questions in which the issue was discussed.
In it we hear Ms Dugdale repeat the accusations and assert that Mr Hay had “described the majority of Scots as traitors”.
But that allegation is a total falsehood. The Scottish Sun tracked down the offending tweet from Mr Hay’s pseudonymous (now deleted) account and it says no such thing.
Kezia Dugdale’s hysterical, overblown attack on an SNP candidate over two-and-a-half-year-old joke tweets calls her own judgement into severe question.
Full mucky story: http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-serious-case-of-hypocrisy/
News reader comments:
The discrepancies between Mr Hay’s ACTUAL tweets and the statements being made in Mr Maddox’s articles really beggar belief. I imagined that Maddox was building up to the point when a ‘smoking gun’ is revealed – but no, just more innuendo. Regardless of one’s politics, surely we can expect better from this newspaper? Perhaps not! However, given the current journalistic focus here on associating with companies in the tax and wealth management business, perhaps the Editor might consider this worthy of publication?
Personally sick of Project Smear and now seriously annoyed. Will now vote for him even if the Evening News reveals that his principal pastimes are strangling kittens and robbing old ladies. This muck-spreading has gone too far.
I don’t claim to be morally superior, but neither do I spend my time scrabbling in the dirt. What has the Edinburgh News been offered to so debase their professional integrity to run nudge nudge, tripe like this, OK labour spin what’s next, he parked on a double yellow line when picking up a fish tea? Farted in a elevator? Forgot his PIN number had to call his bank and brought down the entire banking system, we deserve to be told!
But square the foregoing with the under noted posted by Fifi La Bonbon, (aka Kezia Dugdale) who at the end of April 2015 made a tremendous fuss in Parliament attacking Mr Hay, demanding the SNP disown him.
The 2014 referendum:
Fifi la Bonbon: I oppose giving the vote to children, but not because of paedophile hysteria, but because they’re too daft to vote. How would publishing younger people’s details on the electoral register be of any benefit to paedophile ? What is the paedophile “danger” these “experts” are exercising their gums about? Would a paedophile look up the details of someone apparently aged 15, and then write to them to ask if they would like to see some puppies?
Her views that 15-17 year olds are too daft to vote will be extremely offensive to the younger members of Scottish society trusted by the SNP to vote in the referendum and any future Scottish Parliamentary Election. The Deputy Leader of the Labour party in Scotland should follow her own advice and resign before the so called, “daft youngsters” get the chance to punish her by voting her out of Holyrood in 2016.
May 2015: History made in Edinburgh…. but Labour hold onto one seat
Labour’s Ian Murray narrowly held on to Edinburgh South, where SNP candidate Neil Hay was caught up in a manufactured social media scandal about a perceived insult to elderly people that his colleagues said cost him many votes. This was a campaign conducted in the gutter by a Labour Party desperate to hold onto power, by any means, in South Edinburgh