Scotland politics

How can Jim Murphy become first minister of Scotland?

New Scottish Labour Party leader Jim Murphy says he wants to become first minister of Scotland. But what steps will he have to take in order to realise his ambition? Use this guide to find out.....

  • Not an MSP


    The new leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, is not a politician in the Scottish Parliament. So, does this matter? In theory he can still do the leader job while an MP in the House of Commons. However, if he wants to become the First Minister of Scotland he will have to become an MSP first.

  • Still an MP


    Mr Murphy's current job is up for renewal on 7 May 2015 when all members of the House of Commons - including the Prime Minister and UK government ministers - fight the General Election. There is nothing to stop him standing again for his East Renfrewshire seat at Westminster.

  • Holyrood election


    Mr Murphy says he wants to be First Minister of Scotland which means he will need to be elected to the Scottish Parliament. His first obvious opportunity is on 5 May 2016 when all members of Holyrood face re-election. There are two ways of winning a seat - one is to find a constituency, the second is to get your name on the party's regional candidates' list. The higher up your name on the list, the greater chance you have of heading to Holyrood.

  • First Minister role


    If Mr Murphy wins a Holyrood seat his ambition of becoming First Minister of Scotland is just one step away. However, this is the tricky bit. The Scottish National Party is currently the majority government at Holyrood with 64 MSPs and its leader Nicola Sturgeon believes she is in a strong position to be First Minister after the 2016 ballot. Effectively, Scottish voters will decide on whether Mr Murphy gets the top job. For him to take the reins, his party would have to either secure an overall majority or win enough seats to run a minority government or enter into a coalition deal with a smaller party.

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