Jeremy Purvis is the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs, International Development, and International Trade Spokesman in the House of Lords.
Jeremy was appointed a Liberal Democrat working peer in August 2013, taking the title Lord Purvis of Tweed. He was born in Berwick-upon-Tweed at the mouth of the river and represented its source as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale (2003-2011). When elected he was the youngest constituency MSP and when appointed to the House of Lords he was one of the youngest ever Life Peers.
In Parliament he successfully steered the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 through the House of Lords, establishing in law the UK’s annual commitment to reach 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.In 2021 he reintroduced that Bill.
Jeremy is a member of the House of Lords European Affairs Committee and formerly the International Relations Committee. He has served as an Executive Committee member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK) and 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, promoting trade out of poverty and supporting Scottish industries such as textiles and whisky. In 2016 Jeremy was appointed a member of the Independent Commission on Parliamentary Reform by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.
In 2018 Jeremy co-chaired an inquiry into lifting people in the Commonwealth out of poverty and is a member of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit. Jeremy travels extensively to the Middle East and post conflict countries to support restoring governance and representative politics. He chairs the UK board of the peace-building charity, Search for Common Ground.
Jeremy was a member of the Finance Committee in the Scottish Parliament and the Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Finance and the Economy. He drafted the Scottish Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2011 election. He was the first MSP to publish full proposals for the devolution of further tax powers to the Scottish Parliament in 2004, then proposed the establishment of the Steel Commission and served as a member of it.
Jeremy pioneered new policy development and thinking for innovative funding such as loan funding through Regional Development Banks based on social enterprise thinking. Douglas Fraser of the BBC described this as one of the “genuinely new ideas” of the Scottish election campaign in 2011. Colin Donald, Business Editor of the Sunday Herald described Jeremy’s work as: “In a parliament that has failed to convince many in the industry that it understands their day-to-day challenges, Jeremy Purvis is widely regarded as one of the brightest and most creative talents. Not only has he been a doughty fighter for Borders business but he is one of the few MSPs who is prepared to consult widely and think rigorously, widely and intelligently about how to nurture entrepreneurialism in Scotland.”
Jeremy established and chaired the Cross Party Group on Supporting Veterans in Scotland and wrote the Scottish Veterans Charter, now adopted across Scotland’s local authorities and health boards. This was in response to his perception of a lack of focus in policy and delivery in supporting former armed forces personnel. This has now been corrected to be benefit of veterans.
During his term of office Jeremy held more than 1,000 advice surgeries across the breadth of his former constituency and helped 6,000 individual people in resolving issues. This gave him a deep insight into the services that people need but he also worked closely with charities and local businesses. With this work a number of press profiles described him as “thoughtful” (The Herald),“assertive” (The BBC), “widely respected” and “the party’s astute finance spokesman” (The Daily Telegraph) and “smart, humorous and feisty” (Sunday Herald). Jeremy chaired the highly regarded 2016 Scottish Parliament election campaign for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
After Jeremy’s terms in the Scottish Parliament he developed and lead proposals for further reform to progress more home rule for Scotland: Devo Plus. Establishing a trusted reputation as a constitutional and political reformer he led a Cross Party group with MSPs from Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives to progress reforms to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK. Most of his proposals have now been enacted in the Scotland Act 2016. During his first year in the Lords he established and Co-Chairs the All Party Parliamentary Party on UK Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution.
Jeremy formally served on the advisory board of the independent think tank Reform Scotland. He currently serves as patron and trustee of a wide number of national and Scottish Borders charities and bodies, including served as a trustee of Abbotsford, the historical home of Sir Walter Scott. Immediately prior to taking his seat in the House of Lords he was Director of Campaigns at the independent Scottish environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
His previous experience includes various strategic communications roles in the private sector as well as being assistant and head of office for Lord Steel from 1993-1998.