Margaret Curran

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Margaret Curran
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
7 October 2011 – 8 May 2015
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Ann McKechin
Succeeded by Ian Murray
Minister for Parliamentary Business
In office
4 October 2004 – 17 May 2007
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by Patricia Ferguson
Succeeded by Bruce Crawford
Minister for Communities
In office
21 May 2003 – 4 October 2004
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Malcolm Chisholm
Minister for Social Justice
In office
9 May 2002 – 21 May 2003
First Minister Jack McConnell
Preceded by Iain Gray
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow East
In office
6 May 2010 – 7 May 2015
Preceded by John Mason
Succeeded by Natalie McGarry
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Baillieston
In office
6 May 1999 – 22 March 2011
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1958-11-24) 24 November 1958 (age 63)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Rab Murray
Children 2
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Religion Roman Catholicism

Margaret Patricia Curran (born 24 November 1958) is a Scottish Labour Party politician, who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow East from 2010 to 2015 and was Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland from 2011 until 2015. She was previously Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Baillieston from 1999 to 2011, and held a number of posts within the Scottish Executive, including Minister for Parliamentary Business, Minister for Social Justice and Minister for Communities.


Curran was born in Glasgow, the daughter of Irish parents.[1] She was educated at Our Lady and St Francis School in Glasgow.

Curran attended the University of Glasgow, where she graduated with a degree in History and Economic History in 1981. She first became politically active in the Glasgow University Labour Club in the late 1970s, where she was associated with Johann Lamont and Sarah Boyack. She held several posts in Labour student politics, including secretary and vice-chair of Glasgow University Labour Club, and chair and secretary of the Scottish Organisation of Labour Students. She was involved in the unsuccessful campaign to elect Hortensia Allende as Rector of Glasgow University in 1977.

She was a community worker, and then a lecturer in community education at the University of Strathclyde. She and her husband Rab live in Glasgow with their two sons. She was Mohammad Sarwar's election agent in Glasgow Govan in the 1997 general election.

Member of the Scottish Parliament

In 1999 she was elected to the new Scottish Parliament, and was promoted to a junior minister when Henry McLeish became First Minister and later became a member of the Scottish Executive.[2] She served as convenor of the Social Inclusion committee, then was promoted to Deputy Minister for Social Justice. She then rose to become minister in that portfolio, which later changed to Minister for Communities, introducing the Homelessness (Scotland) Bill [3] in September 2002. She held the position of Minister for Parliamentary Business from 2004 until 2007.

She was re-elected comfortably in 2003 and again in 2007. Given the Scottish Labour Party's losses in that later election, she was widely viewed as a popular potential successor to Jack McConnell as its leader, but decided not to stand against Wendy Alexander. Curran pledged her support to Iain Gray who was standing against Cathy Jamieson and Andy Kerr. Iain Gray was voted Scottish Labour Party Leader and appointed Curran to manage the party's 2011 election manifesto.[4] She stood down as MSP for Glasgow Baillieston at the 2011 Scottish election.

2008 Glasgow East by-election

On 30 June 2008 David Marshall, MP for Glasgow East, resigned from the House of Commons on grounds of ill health, triggering a by-election.[5] The Labour candidate for the by-election was to have been announced on 4 July,[6] though the announcement was postponed when the likely choice, local councillor George Ryan, chose to withdraw from the nomination process.[7] On 5 July Curran placed herself forward for nomination on the Labour Party's shortlist and was confirmed as their candidate on 7 July.[8][9] The by-election took place on 24 July 2008 and Curran was defeated by John Mason of the Scottish National Party by 365 votes.[10] The swing from Labour was 22.54%.

Member of Parliament

In the 2010 general election, Curran won back Glasgow East for Labour from the SNP. At the count, after her victory was pronounced, she walked out with the other candidates from the platform, refusing to make a speech while sharing the platform with the British National Party candidate.

From 2010-2011, she was Shadow Minister for Disabilities

On 7 October 2011 in a shadow cabinet reshuffle, Labour leader Ed Miliband sacked Ann McKechin and appointed Curran as her replacement for Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.[11] Willie Bain, MP for Glasgow North East, also became Curran's new deputy as Shadow Scotland Office Minister, replacing Tom Greatrex.[12]

For the year 2013/14, Curran was criticised for claiming more than £180,000 in expenses on top of her salary, including more than £19,000 on accommodation and nearly £16,000 on travel (as listed on the Independent Parliamentary Standards authority website).

At the 2015 general election, she lost her seat to Natalie McGarry of the Scottish National Party. This was in an election landslide where Scottish Labour were reduced from 41 to 1 seats in Westminster as the SNP took 56 of Scotland's 59 seats. With many unseated Labour figures including Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy presenting speeches following the declaration of their defeat, Curran declined to speak following the declaration.


  1. Margaret Curran – wearing her heart on her sleeve
  2. Curran leads attack on antisocial behaviour
  3. Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Bill
  5. "By-election looms after MP quits". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Campaigning starts in by-election". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Labour man quits by-election race". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Labour MSP joins by-election race". BBC Scotland. 5 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Curran takes on by-election fight". BBC News. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. SNP stuns Labour in Glasgow East, BBC News, 25 July 2008
  12. Cabinet reshuffle: Miliband promotes Curran to Scotland job

External links

Scottish Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Glasgow Baillieston
Constituency abolished
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Mason
Member of Parliament for Glasgow East
Succeeded by
Natalie McGarry
Political offices
Preceded by
Iain Gray
Minister for Social Justice
Position abolished
New office Minister for Communities
Succeeded by
Malcolm Chisholm
Preceded by
Patricia Ferguson
Minister for Parliamentary Business
Succeeded by
Bruce Crawford
Preceded by
Ann McKechin
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Ian Murray