Jim Murphy: I will stay on as an MP “for a full five years”


The Northern Irish Assembly banned dual mandates with the House of Commons for its 2015 election

SCOTTISH LABOUR leader Jim Murphy has said he will stay on as an MP in the House of Commons “for a full five years” if he defends his seat in East Renfrewshire next May.

The statement, made on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday morning, means if Murphy stands to be First Minister in the Scottish elections next May he could have a dual mandate at the Scottish and UK Parliament. This practise was banned in the 2015 Northern Irish parliamentary elections, after being criticised by the UK Parliament committee on standards in public life.

Murphy told BBC Radio Scotland: “I have told my constituents at hustings, and I have told hundreds of people in letters, I will stay on as the member of parliament, if elected next week, for a full five years – I have been very clear about that in hustings.”

The Scottish Labour leader was grilled on radio last Sunday about whether he would stand as an MSP in the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections with the aim of becoming First Minister of Scotland, and he replied: “”This isn’t about my job, but, yes, I will stand for First Minister, absolutely.”

Alex Salmond from the SNP and Cathy Jamieson and Margaret Curran from Labour have held positions in the Scottish and UK parliaments at the same time in the past decade.*

In Northern Ireland, dual mandates are much more common, with 16 of 18 Northern Irish MPs also being MLA’s in the Northern Irish Assembly.

The practise of “double jobbing” was described by the UK Government committee on standards in public life as “unsually ingrained in the political culture of Northern Ireland”, and the committee proposed the House of Commons ban double mandates from the 2011 Northern Irish assembly elections.

The parties in Northern Ireland agreed to a ban for the 2015 Assembly elections.

The Wales Act 2014 implemented a ban in the Welsh Assembly on holding a dual mandate from the next Welsh elections in 2016, even though no Welsh MPs have been AMs.

No such legislation has been passed for the Scottish Parliament ahead of the Scottish elections in 2016.

Murphy is currently fighting to hold on to his seat, with a recent Ashcroft constituency poll showing the Scottish Labour leader currently seven points behind the SNP in East Renfrewshire.

Picture courtesy of Anthony Mckeown

*This has been corrected. Previously the article stated that Alex Salmond was the only Scottish politician to hold seats in both the UK and Scottish parliaments at the same time