Jim lives in his constituency with his wife and three children. He was born in Glasgow and grew up in an Arden housing scheme in the south side of the city. His family emigrated to Cape Town when he was young where he returned from as a teenager.
He has served in Parliament since 1997 and has extensive Parliamentary experience. He won and has held the constituency which was previously the safest Conservative seat in Scotland. Jim is a keen footballer and an average golfer.
Jim previously served as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence & then International Development. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland whilst in Government.
When he was first elected in 1997 he was the first Labour MP for his seat for almost three quarters of a century. Since then his majority has more than trebled to 10,420 with the biggest swing to Labour of any seat in Britain. At the last general election Jim’s seat recorded the highest electoral turnout of any constituency anywhere in the UK.
Other earlier Parliamentary and Government experience.
May 1997 Elected as MP for Eastwood Constituency (majority: 3,236)
2000 - 2001 Member of Public Accounts Select Committee
March 2001 Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Scotland
June 2001 Re-elected as MP for Eastwood Constituency (majority: 9,141)
June 2002 - Appointed to Government as Whip. Responsible for Scotland Office, Scottish Group of Labour MPs and The Northern Ireland Office
November 2002 - Appointed Government Whip responsible for the Department of Trade and Industry instead of Northern Ireland Office
June 2003 - Appointed Government Whip for Scotland Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development.
Re-elected Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire (Maj. 6,657)
Promoted to the post of Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office. Responsibilities include egovernment, better regulation and public service modernisation
May 2006 - June 2007
Promoted to Minister of State for Employment a nd Welfare Reform
Responsible for: labour market and the economy, labour market statistics, Welfare Reform, Jobcentre Plus, employment programmes, including the future of the New Deal, implementation of Employment and Support Allowance and Pathways to Work, lone parents, childcare and partners, ethnic minority employment (Chair of Ethnic Minority Employment taskforce), migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, Adult Disadvantage, Child Poverty and young people (including links with Department for Children, Schools and Families), extending working lives, Cities Strategy, employers (including the National Employment Panel), Skills, disadvantaged areas and regional issues
June 2007 – October 2008
Jim also served as Minister for Europe. His portfolio as Europe Minister included responsibility for the UK's relations with each European nation as well as the European Union, Russia, Central Asia, South Caucasus, Balkans, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the UK's relationship with NATO.
Jim was voted Minister of the Year 2008 in a secret ballot of all MPs and Lords of all political parties. He was given the award for his debating performances in the House of Commons over the past year. The awards are organised by the House Magazine.