Kay Ullrich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kay Ullrich
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for West of Scotland
In office
6 May 1999 – 31 March 2003
Personal details
Born(1943-05-05)5 May 1943
Prestwick, Scotland
Died4 January 2021 (aged 77)
Political partyScottish National Party
OccupationPolitician, social worker

Kay Morrison Ullrich (5 May 1943 – 4 January 2021) was a Scottish politician and social worker. She was a Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for the West of Scotland region from 1999 to 2003, after a 24-year career in social work. She was an early supporter of the political career of Nicola Sturgeon, who later became First Minister of Scotland.

Early life, education and career in social work[edit]

Ullrich was born on 5 May 1943 in Prestwick, Scotland to Jack and Charlotte Morrison.[1][2] She studied at Queen's College in Glasgow.[3]

In 1965, Ullrich joined the Scottish National Party (SNP), having felt anger at Polaris nuclear missiles being stationed on the Clyde,[4] and campaigned for Scottish independence all her life.[3][4] She was a school swimming instructor[5] and then worked as a school, hospital and court social worker. She retired from social work before her 1999 entry to parliament, after a career of 24 years.[3]

Political career[edit]

Ullrich stood unsuccessfully as an SNP candidate in several general elections: in Cunninghame South (1983 and 1987)[6][7] and in Motherwell South (1992) with Andrew Wilson as her election agent.[8] The death of Labour Leader John Smith in May 1994 triggered the Monklands East by-election, in which Ullrich also stood as an SNP candidate. She reduced Labour's majority in the election, but was defeated by Helen Liddell.[9][10]

In the 1999 Scottish Parliament election Ullrich stood as a constituency candidate in Cunninghame North, where she was runner-up to Allan Wilson.[11] However, as she had been placed second on the SNP's West of Scotland list,[12] she was able to enter Parliament as a regional list Member.[13] By November, squabbles between Wilson and her around who might represent a constituent led to the deputy presiding officer George Reid stepping in to work towards clarifying the roles of constituency and regional list Members.[14] The "Reid Principles" were set out, incorporated into the Members of Scottish Parliament code of conduct and endorsed by Parliament.[15]

During her time in Parliament, Ullrich served as deputy convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee (2000–2003) and convener of the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill committee (January–March 2003).[16] She was also a member of the Health and Community Care Committee (1999–2003) and the Procedures Committee (2000–2001).[17] On 26 May 1999, Alex Salmond announced Ullrich as the shadow minister for health and community care.[18][19] The following year John Swinney replaced Salmond as SNP leader and days later, on 26 September 2000, she was appointed Chief Whip, a role which she held until the dissolution of parliament.[20][17] She stood down at the 2003 election.[21] After Parliament, she worked as a safeguarder with the Children's Panel.[1] In 2005, following the retirement of Winnie Ewing, Ullrich stood for the position of SNP President,[22] losing to Ian Hudghton.[23]

In 1987, 16-year-old Nicola Sturgeon approached Ullrich to work on her election campaign. Ullrich later supported Sturgeon when she stood for selection as a candidate in Glasgow Shettleston in 1992, stating "This lady here will be the first female leader of the SNP one day".[4] Sturgeon acknowledged Ullrich as a mentor,[4] and Ullrich was present at the Scottish Parliament as a guest when Sturgeon became Scotland's first female First Minister.[24]

Ullrich was a member of UNISON.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Ullrich married and had two children; one son and one daughter, journalist Shelley Jofre.[26] She died on 4 January 2021 at the age of 77.[1][4][27]


  1. ^ a b c Garavelli, Dani (12 January 2021). "Obituary: Kay Ullrich, former MSP whose political convictions were at her core". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  2. ^ Who's Who 2021: Ullrich, Kay Morrison
  3. ^ a b c "'I'll miss her so much': Nicola Sturgeon 'devastated' by death of SNP 'stalwart' Kay Ullrich". The Scotsman. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tributes to former MSP who 'inspired Nicola Sturgeon'". BBC News. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  5. ^ Henderson, David (28 September 2001). "Pupils left out of the swim". TES. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  6. ^ "How they voted in Scotland". The Glasgow Herald. 22 June 1983. p. 13. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Election 87 results". The Glasgow Herald. 12 June 1987. p. 15. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Andrew Wilson: Take risk with local government". Scotland on Sunday. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  9. ^ Arlidge, John (30 June 1994). "Scandal-hit Labour holds Monklands by a whisker". The Independent. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Scottish Politics – Candidates & Constituency Assessments: Cunninghame North". Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2006.
  11. ^ "Vote 99. Scotland. Cunninghame North". BBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  12. ^ "'Fundamentalist' group of hardliners to give Salmond turbulent time in Scottish Parliament. SNP army ready for fight". The Herald. Glasgow. 20 January 1999. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Vote 99. Scotland. West of Scotland". BBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  14. ^ "MSPs fight over status". BBC News. 14 November 1999. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  15. ^ Official report. 6 July 2000. motion S1M-1087. Relationships beteen MSPs: Guidance from the Presiding Officer (Report). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Previous Committees > Session 1 > Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill > Membership". www.parliament.scot. Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Previous MSPs: Session 1 (1999–2003): Kay Ullrich". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Measures to improve underfunding are central to Scottish election health policies". BMJ. 318 (7192): 1166. 1 May 1999. doi:10.1136/bmj.318.7192.1166. PMC 1115581. PMID 10221935.
  19. ^ "Dewar urged to reveal Holyrood cost". BBC News. 26 May 1999. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  20. ^ "About Kay Ullrich". beta.parliament.scot. Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Farewell to the parliament". BBC News. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Four join race for SNP presidency". BBC News. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  23. ^ "SNP pledges guaranteed treatment". BBC News. 24 September 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  24. ^ Gardham, Magnus (20 November 2014). "Sturgeon makes history". The Herald. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  25. ^ Report, Official (24 January 2014). "Official Report". www.parliament.scot. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  26. ^ Jofre, Shelley (1 June 2015). "Nicola Sturgeon: The first minister and me". BBC News. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  27. ^ McCall, Chris (4 January 2021). "Tributes paid to former MSP Kay Ullrich who predicted rise of Nicola Sturgeon". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 January 2021.