Kirsty at the National Mining Museum in Newtongrange

Why I'm Fighting for Us

As an Executive Director at one of the world’s biggest children’s charities, I led a team of 160 to deliver programmes giving practical support to families here in Scotland and across the UK, along with award-winning campaigns. 

Before being a charity leader I was proud to work as a Downing Street adviser to Gordon Brown during the financial crisis, fighting to protect people’s pensions, savings, homes and jobs. Now I will use that experience to fight for families here in Midlothian.

Kirsty McNeill headshot.

I started working for Gordon when I was 27 because he’d noticed the work I’d done at Make Poverty History, where I led on organising the 250,000 strong march in Edinburgh. I’m a committed internationalist and a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations alongside foreign ministers, former prime ministers and leaders from NATO.

Kirsty and Gordon Brown

I’ve got plenty of non-executive and media experience too. I have chaired the IPPR, the advisory board of Our Scottish Future, and the Civic Power Fund; I was also a board member for The Center for Countering Digital Hate, The Labour Climate and Environment Forum, The Climate Coalition and Larger Us. I have written a Fabian Society pamphlet on the so-called ‘culture wars’, chapters in two recent books (Raising the Nation and Children’s Experience, Participation and Rights During COVID-19) and for outlets including the Telegraph, Times, Observer, Guardian, New Statesman and Scotsman. 

Kirsty on the BBC

As a proud trade unionist I’m a strong champion of Labour’s New Deal for Working PeopleYou might have also noticed that I’m the Scottish Labour & Co-operative MP for Midlothian. For nearly 100 years, the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party have worked in partnership and stood joint candidates. From community ownership of renewable energy to worker ownership of businesses, the Co-operative Party believes in giving people a say and a stake in our economy.

The thing that connects everything I’ve done in my life is wanting to make things fairer and find ways of bringing people together even when we disagree. From a fairly young age I knew about how badly my mum had been failed by the care system. You can learn more about that by listening to this episode of the “My Mum Made Me” podcast and more about what it was like for me growing up in a family of SNP activists in this Daily Record interview. When I was 17 I went down south to study at Oxford and started representing people as president of the Oxford University Student Union. I’ve been campaigning for change ever since.

Kirsty at Unison March in Edinburgh

If you’re interested you can learn more about my background and perspectives by listening to these podcasts: