Biographies of members of the Commission on Parliamentary Reform – provided by the members.
John McCormick (Chair)
John McCormick graduated MA with Honours in History and Economic History from Glasgow University in 1967 and taught in a Glasgow comprehensive school while completing a M.Ed. degree. He joined the BBC Education Department in 1970 as Education Officer, liaising with schools and helping to develop the policy and strategy for education programmes. In 1982 he became a member of BBC Scotland’s management team as Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs and in 1987 moved to London on his appointment as Secretary of the BBC, responsible to the Chairman and Director-General for the governance of the organisation while acting as the link with the appropriate Government department on BBC matters. He returned to Scotland in 1992 and served as Controller [Chief Executive] until 2004, responsible for all BBC activities in Scotland.
John has been Chair of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Chair of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Vice-Chair of Scottish Screen, a member of the Court of the University of Strathclyde, a Governor of the RSAMD (now RCS), a Board member of the Glasgow School of Art, a non-executive Director of Lloyds TSB Scotland and a non-executive Director of the Irvine Bay Urban Regeneration Company. Currently he is the UK Electoral Commissioner with special responsibility for Scotland, Vice-Chair of Scottish Opera, a member of the Board of the Theatre Royal [Glasgow], an Independent Director of Glasgow Life and Chair of the Screen Sector Leadership Group.
He was a member of the Commission into Boundaries and Voting systems (2006) and Chair of the Review Group on Higher Education Governance in Wales (2011).
He has been awarded Honorary Degrees from Robert Gordon University, the University of Strathclyde, the University of the West of Scotland and the University of Glasgow. He is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Katie Burke MSYP
Katie is currently a 3rd year student of International Relations at the University of St
Andrews. For the past 5 years she has served as an elected Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, firstly for the constituency of Helensburgh and Lomond and more recently representing North East Fife. In the summer of 2015 Katie was elected Vice Chairperson of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and later became the organization’s Chairperson. As a passionate supporter of young peoples’ rights this role led her to welcome a delegation from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to Scotland, and later in the year travel to Geneva to give evidence to the Committee on the state of young peoples’ rights in Scotland as part of their reporting process.
Katie has also served as a trustee for YouthLink Scotland and last year she represented Scotland as a UK Young Ambassador to the European Union Youth Conference in The Netherlands, discussing the challenges internationally faced by young people. In recognition of her work Katie this year featured as one of the Young Women’s Movement’s ‘30 most Inspiring Scots Women under 30’. Helping to involve more young people, especially young women, in politics is something Katie is particularly passionate about. Parliamentary reform is one of the major ways she sees Scotland being able to fulfil this goal.
Jackson Carlaw MSP
Jackson has been an MSP since 2007, serving two terms initially as a regional MSP for the West of Scotland before being elected as the constituency member for Eastwood in May of 2016. Jackson is the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives having been appointed by Ruth Davidson in 2011 and is currently also shadow cabinet secretary for Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs having previously led on health for almost nine years.
In 2010, Jackson published his own paper on Scottish parliamentary reform ‘It’s time to realise the potential of the Scottish Parliament’. He has continued to work with others since on the issue and participated in discussions during the last session of parliament led by the then PO Tricia Marwick MSP.
Before becoming an MSP Jackson worked in the retail motor industry for 25 years, is married with two adult sons and now lives in Waterfoot in Eastwood.
Pam Duncan-Glancy is a disability equality and human rights activist. She currently works as a Communications and Engagement Officer in NHS Health Scotland. Pam was previously a Policy Officer for a national charity. She has an MSc in Health Psychology, a BSc in Psychology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Citizenship and Human Rights. Pam is an ambassador for the One in Five campaign which aims to get more disabled people into Politics and is a keen trade unionist. She was Disabled Students Officer for NUS Scotland for 2 years. Pam was a member of the Commission on Local Democracy and has also been a board member of a national charity.
John Finnie MSP
John Finnie was born and brought up in the Highlands. He served in the police for 30 years, was a Highland Councillor for 5 years and has been a Highlands and Islands MSP since 2011.
John was elected as a Scottish Green Party candidate in the 2016 Scottish election and is his Party’s spokesperson on Justice, Transport & Tourism, Rural & Island Communities. Within Holyrood John sits on the Rural Economy & Connectivity and Justice committees and is also a member of the Sub Committee on Policing.
He successfully campaigned against deploying armed police to routine incidents, work for which he was awarded “Community Politician of the Year 2014”. He has campaigned against cuts to local education and medical services, police control rooms and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and for public ownership of Calmac Ferries and the railways.
At a national level John has worked hard on a variety of justice issues in particular campaigning against nuclear weapons and the arms trade whilst also working towards ethical investment.
Above all, John believes in social and environmental justice, meaning good quality social housing, secure and well remunerated jobs, high quality health care and quality support for the most vulnerable in our communities.
The Very Rev Dr. Lorna Hood
Lorna retired recently after 37 years as a Church of Scotland Minister. Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 2013 to 2014, and an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen since 2010 she has served on various committees in the Church including Assembly Arrangements, Ministries Council and in 2001 was appointed a General Trustee. In 2011 she completed her training for the Church’s mediation project, ‘A Place for Hope’ and has served in various capacities, including on a group set up to consider the theology of mediation and reconciliation.
After a trip to Srebrenica in 2014, Lorna agreed to set up and Chair the Remembering Srebrenica Scottish Board. She was awarded a Point of Light award by the Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 for her work with the charity in tackling all forms of intolerance and hatred.
Lorna was awarded the honorary degree of DD from the University of Glasgow on 1st December 2014 and in February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
Johann Lamont MSP
Johann is the Scottish Labour and Co-operative member for the Scottish Parliament region of Glasgow. She was first elected as an MSP in 1999.
Johann is currently the Convener of the Public Petitions Committee and Deputy Convener of the Education and Skills Committee.
Johann served as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from December 2011 – October 2014 and as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from September 2008 – December 2011.
She was Deputy Minister for Communities from October 2004 – November 2006 and Deputy Minister for Justice from November 2006 – May 2007.
Born in Glasgow in 1957, into a Gaelic speaking family from Tiree, Johann attended Woodside Secondary School. She obtained MA (Hons) at the University of Glasgow and a Post Grad teaching qualification at Jordanhill College of Education. She also gained a Certificate of Guidance at Strathclyde University.
Prior to being elected, Johann worked as a classroom teacher for 20 years.
Geoff is currently the Director of Reform Scotland, an independent, Scottish public policy institute which aims to set out policies that would deliver increased economic prosperity and improved public services in Scotland.
Before setting up Reform Scotland in 2008, Geoff was Director of Grayling Political Strategy in Scotland, a public affairs and public relations consultancy specialising in planning and running political communications campaigns on behalf of its clients. Before that, Geoff was Policy Manager for Scottish Financial Enterprise and, for the 8 years prior to that, he had been Chief Political Adviser to the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.
From 1992-96, Geoff was a councillor on City of Edinburgh District Council. Geoff has an MA from the University of Edinburgh, is married with two children and lives in Edinburgh.
Fiona McLeod was MSP for the West of Scotland 1999-2003 and for Strathkelvin & Bearsden 2011-2016. She was Acting Minister for Children & Young People in 2015. She served on many committees in her two terms, most notably on the Standards, Procedures & Public Appointments Committee (where she acted as interim Convener for a short time) 2012-14 & 2015-16, as Convener of the National Trust for Scotland (Governance etc) Bill Committee 2013 and as Depute Convener of both the National Galleries of Scotland Bill Committee 2015-16 and the Health and Sport Committee 2016.
Outwith Parliament Fiona has been a member of the Scottish Advisory Committee of Ofcom 2004-06 and Chair of the Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) 2011-15.
Jeremy Purvis was the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale (2003-2011) before the constituency was abolished in boundary changes. When elected he was the youngest constituency MSP. In 2013 he became one of the youngest ever Life Peers on his appointment to the House of Lords.
In the Scottish Parliament he served, among others, on the Finance Committee. He chaired the cross party Devo Plus Group (2011-2013). In the UK Parliament he successfully steered through the House of Lords the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, establishing in law the UK’s annual commitment to reach the 0.7% of GNP for overseas development assistance. In the 2015-16 session he introduced a Constitutional Convention Bill to establish a British citizen led constitutional convention to renew British democracy.
Jeremy is a member of the House of Lords International Relations Committee, Executive Committee member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK) and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Group of the Inter Parliamentary Union. He is co-chair and office holder of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups on constitutional reform, the Global Goals, human rights, democratic participation and supporting Scottish industries such as textiles and whisky.
Jeremy also carries out extensive democratic governance development work in the Middle East and Africa.
Professor Boyd Robertson is Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture on the Isle of Skye and one of the constituent colleges of the University of the Highlands and Islands. A graduate of Aberdeen University, he trained as a teacher and went on to hold posts at Oban High School, Jordanhill College of Education and the University of Strathclyde.
He has extensive experience of teacher education, curriculum development and production of resources for learners and has written widely on Gaelic education. He has been deeply involved in the work of Gaelic agencies and of community bodies: as Chair of the Gaelic Books Council and of the Glasgow arts body, An Lòchran, as Vice-Chair of language promotion body, Comunn na Gàidhlig and as a member of the initial Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Government appointed Gaelic development agency. He currently chairs the inter-University Faclair na Gàidhlig/ Scottish Gaelic Dictionary Steering Committee.
His services to education were recognised by the award of an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Edinburgh in 2014 and his services to Gaelic by the Gaelic Ambassador accolade bestowed by the Scottish Government and An Comunn Gàidhealach in 2015. He was made a Fellow of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies in 2012.
John is currently the Director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools. In that role, he is a member of the Advisory Boards of the SQA and the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
From 2003 to 2009 he was Head of the European Parliament Office in Scotland, and Parliamentary Manager for Scottish Enterprise from 2002 to 2003.
Prior to that, John worked in Brussels as EU Policy Manager for Scotland Europa from 1996 to 2001; and before that at the European Policy Centre.
He studied Scottish History at the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow, and Italian at the Universitá per Stranieri, Siena.
John was Senior Campaign Spokesman for the Scotland Stronger In Europe campaign in 2016. He is a Trustee of the Scottish European Educational Trust; and was a member of the Steel and Campbell Commissions.