Jeremy’s biography

Jeremy Purvis was appointed a Liberal Democrat working peer in August 2013, taking the title Lord Purvis of Tweed. He was born at the mouth of the river in Berwick-upon-Tweed 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 he is one of the youngest ever Life Peers. Jeremy is currently the Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesman for Foreign Affairs, International Development and International Trade.

In 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 European Affairs Committee and a former member of the International Relations Committee. He served on the Executive Committee member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (UK) and 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 has extensive experience in private sector consultancy and governance advice to conflict and post conflict states, especially in the Middle East. He is an effective facilitator and chair and has conducted high level facilitation in the Gulf, Middle East, North Africa, sub Saharan Africa and Asia.

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. Many of his proposals have now been delivered in the Scotland Act 2016.

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 Abbotsford, the 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 (1998-2003, 2011-2013) as well as being assistant and head of office for Lord Steel from 1993-1998.