|Shadow Minister for Scotland|
3 July 2017
|Shadow Sec.||Lesley Laird|
|Gordon Banks (2015)|
|Member of Parliament|
for Glasgow North East
8 June 2017 - 6 November 2019
|Election in progress|
|Born||16 January 1989|
|Political party||Labour & Co-operative Party|
|Education||Turnbull High School|
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow|
University of Stirling
|Branch/service||British Army (Army Reserve)|
|Years of service||2006-18|
|Unit||Royal Regiment of Scotland|
Royal Corps of Signals
Paul John Sweeney (born 16 January 1989) is a Scottish Labour & Co-operative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow North East since the snap 2017 general election. He currently serves on Labour's front bench as the Shadow Under-Secretary of State for Scotland.
Sweeney was born at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow on 16 January 1989 to Anne Patricia Sweeney (née Doherty), a bank clerk and John Gordon Sweeney, a shipyard worker. He was brought up in Auchinairn, and Milton, where he helped care for his grandmother as a young child. Sweeney attended St. Matthew's Primary School and Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs.
The first member of his family to attend university, Sweeney studied at the University of Stirling, gaining a Certificate of Higher Education with Distinction in Economics and Political Science, before continuing his degree at the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with a first class MA (Hons) in Economic History and Political Science in 2011, achieving the prize for best joint honours performance in Economic History, including a research project on the post-war economic development of Yarrow Shipbuilders, the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company and Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. At university he also became involved in debating with the Glasgow University Dialectic Society, of which he is an honorary life member. As of 2018 , he is a trustee on the Glasgow University Union's board of management.
At the age of 17, Sweeney joined the Army Reserve, initially serving in the Royal Corps of Signals with 32 Signal Regiment, before transferring to 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. He is currently one of three Labour MPs to have served in the British Armed Forces.
After undertaking an internship with BAE Systems at Portsmouth Naval Base as an undergraduate, Sweeney joined the company's graduate development programme with BAE Systems Maritime - Naval Ships in 2011, based at the Govan and Scotstoun shipyards on the Clyde, where he undertook a series of roles in production engineering and shipbuilding operations management on the Type 45 destroyer, Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier and Type 26 frigate programmes. Whilst at BAE Systems, Sweeney also initiated a project with the Glasgow School of Art's Digital Design Studio to introduce virtual reality methods into complex warship design and construction.
At the end of 2015, Sweeney joined the national economic development agency Scottish Enterprise as a senior executive, working with the leadership of companies across the defence, marine, shipbuilding, aerospace and engineering sectors based in Scotland. In April 2016, he was elected as a Council Member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (IESIS).
While working in the shipyards he joined the Unite and GMB trade unions, later joining PCS whilst at Scottish Enterprise. He is also on the executive committee of the Scottish Fabian Society. Sweeney came to prominence during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, after he organised an open letter signed by young shipyard workers opposing the break-up of the UK, and subsequently spoke at a rally alongside Gordon Brown on the eve of the referendum.
Sweeney's first experience of standing as an election candidate was in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, where he placed twelfth on the Scottish Labour Party's regional list for West Scotland.
In the 2017 general election he stood for Glasgow North East where a 12% swing to Labour led to him defeating Anne McLaughlin of the SNP by 242 votes. McLaughlin had taken the seat from Labour in the 2015 general election and she had been elected with a 39% swing, which was the largest swing in a general election. The seat and its predecessors had previously been held by Labour MPs since George Hardie in 1935.
On 3 July 2017, he was appointed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as the Shadow Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. He made his maiden speech to the House of Commons on 13 July 2017, during which he expressed his opposition to Tory austerity policies that had led to a fall in living standards. During the 2017 Scottish Labour leadership election, Sweeney endorsed Richard Leonard, who was ultimately the successful candidate.
In November 2018 he won 'Best Scot at Westminster' in the annual Scottish Politician of the Year awards, in part in recognition for his lobbying of the Home Secretary and Prime Minister in asylum cases such as that of Giorgi Kakava, a 10-year-old orphan who had been threatened with deportation following the death of his mother.
In 2019 he was cited as the least expensive MP in Scotland, including office costs, staff costs and travel costs.
Sweeney has an interest in built heritage and architectural issues in Glasgow. He is a member of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and has led walks as part of Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival for several years. Sweeney was also involved in the restoration of the historic former Govan shipyard head offices into the Fairfield Heritage Centre, for which he won an award. After campaigning against the demolition of Springburn Public Halls in 2012, he founded the Springburn Winter Gardens Trust, which is working to restore the nearby Springburn Winter Gardens.