Mark Lazarowicz

Mark Lazarowicz MP
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh North and Leith
Assumed office
7 June 2001
Preceded by Malcolm Chisholm
Majority 1,724 (3.6%)
Personal details
Born 8 August 1953 (1953-08-08) (age 58)
Romford, Essex, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Children 4
Alma mater University of St Andrews

Mark Lazarowicz, (born 8 August 1953) is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh North and Leith since 2001. As of October 2010, he has been appointed as part of the shadow team for the Department for International Development along with Rushanara Ali with Harriet Harman in charge[1] As of October 2011, his position of Shadow DFID Minister was taken over by Tony Cunningham.


Early life

He graduated from St. Andrews University where he had been Chairman of the St. Andrews University Labour Club with an MA in History in 1976, and the University of Edinburgh with an LLB in Law in 1992.[2]

City Council

Lazarowicz served as a Labour Councillor on the City of Edinburgh Council from 1980 to 1996, and then from 1999 to 2001. [3] He was the Leader of the Council from 1986 to 1993, and was the Council's Executive Member with responsibility for transport from 1999 to 2001. During his term as Leader of the Council, he initiated Edinburgh's biggest ever programme of housing regeneration, and he also played a leading part in the development of the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, and the Edinburgh Tourist Board. [4] As Executive member for transport, he was responsible for starting the largest programme of 20 mph zones in any Scottish council. He also successfully promoted bids for £20 million extra funding from the Scottish Executive to promote road and pavement repairs, bus route improvements including the now operational West Edinburgh busway system, and safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

From 1984 to 1986, he was the first Labour Convenor of Edinburgh Council's Recreation Committee, beginning the Council's programme of new libraries and museums, sports centres, and swimming pools (including the Ainslie Park Swimming and Leisure Centre in Pilton).

Lazarowicz was Labour's Parliamentary candidate in Edinburgh Pentlands in 1987 and 1992, taking Labour from third to second place in the constituency in 1987, and increasing Labour's share of the vote on both occasions. He was Chairperson of the Scottish Labour Party in 1989-1990, having served as a member of the Labour Party's Scottish Executive Committee from 1980.

Lazarowicz was a member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Constitutional Convention. [5] As such, he helped draw up the Convention's proposals for a Scottish Parliament, which were largely reflected in the eventual Scotland Act which set up the Parliament. He has always been a strong supporter of a Scottish Parliament, and has written widely on Scottish political and legal issues. In 1999, he jointly (with Jean McFadden) wrote The Scottish Parliament: An Introduction. This has been republished in revised 2nd and 3rd editions since 1999.

Parliamentary career

Mark Lazarowicz was elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North and Leith in June 2001 and was re-elected in May 2005 and again in May 2010,[6] for the now expanded Edinburgh North and Leith constituency.

Since his election in 2001, he has taken an interest in a wide range of issues including climate change and the environment, debt and personal finance, road safety, trade justice, international development and constitutional issues.

He is currently a member of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. He previously served on the Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, the Scottish Affairs Committee and the Modernisation Committee. [7]

Lazarowicz has succeeded in having two Private Member's Bills passed. In 2002 he piloted the Employee Share Schemes Bill through Parliament,[8][9] and in 2006 the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill,.[10][11] He won the PRASEG Parliamentarian of the Year Award in 2006 for his work in promoting renewable energy.

Lazarowicz won the Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Year award, presented by the road safety charity Brake in 2003 and was recognised again for his work in this area in 2004.

He is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Debt and Personal Finance and Vice-Chair to the APPG on Road Safety and the APPG on Debt, Trade & Aid.

Lazarowicz is an active member of the Co-operative movement and the Fabian Society. He sits in the House of Commons as a Labour and Co-operative MP and is the current chair of the Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Group. He has been a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union for 30 years and a member of the Labour Party for more than 35 years.

He is a longstanding supporter of electoral reform and as a member of the Commons' Modernisation Committee was involved in modernising the way Parliament works to bring it closer to the public. He was one of the first MPs to publish his claims for parliamentary allowances in full in advance of their publication by the House of Commons authorities.

Lazarowicz is chair of the North Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative and a is a member of the Socialist Environment & Resources Association (SERA) Parliamentary group. He is also a member of Friends of the Earth.

In 2008 Lazarowicz lodged a further Private Member's Bill to restrict ship-to-ship oil transfers, with the aim of preventing spillages in the Firth of Forth [12]. In response, the government introduced regulations to restrict such transfers in April 2010 [13] which were then delayed, but eventually were brought into force.[14][15]

In October 2008 Lazarowicz was made the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Global Carbon Markets and his report on the issue, Global Carbon Trading: a framework for reducing emissions was published in July 2009.[16]


After the Daily Telegraph released details of some MPs' expenses claims in 2009, and in what the paper described as an attempt to head off embarrassing headlines, Lazarowicz announced he would repay half of the more than £5000 expenses he had claimed for legal fees regarding the extension of the lease on his London flat,[17] saying the amount was "much higher than many of the public would be prepared to accept". Later he reversed his view, stating that his expenses were entirely within the existing parliamentary rules and that a lot of people and fellow MPs had questioned his decision to pay back the money: "Why on earth am I bothering to pay back the money? That's actually the view which has come back from a large number of people I have been in contact with. Having said that I have said I will pay it back, so I'll pay it back, because I actually accept at the end of the day the fundamental principle that MPs shouldn't actually benefit from property they have acquired."[18] He eventually paid back £2740, having also found he had overclaimed £60 for taxi journeys.[19]

Sir Thomas Legg, who conducted the Review into parliamentary Additional Cost Allowances, wrote to Mark Lazarowicz on 12 October 2009 saying "In your case, having examined the records in the light of my interpretation of the rules and standards in force at the time, I have not identified any payments made to you under the ACA during the review period which I consider call for any repayment.",.[20][21]

Family life

Lazarowicz lives with his three children and his wife Caroline in the Edinburgh North & Leith Constituency, and is an active member of a wide range of community organisations in his constituency. Prior to being elected as an MP, Lazarowicz worked as an Advocate at the Scottish Bar.

He is the son of a Polish draughtsman.


  1. ^,2010-10-10
  2. ^ MP Information STV Local, Edinburgh
  3. ^ Official Biography UK Parliament
  4. ^ Biography Mark Lazarowicz official website
  5. ^ Biography Official Mark Lazarowicz MP website
  6. ^ General Election 2010: Lib Dem Challenge is seen off, 9 May 2010
  7. ^ Official Biography UK Parliament
  8. ^ Employee Share Schemes Bill UK parliament
  9. ^ Second Reading of the Bill Hansard, 18th Jan 2002
  10. ^ Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill UK parliament
  11. ^ Power from the people BBC
  12. ^ Lazarowicz to introduce bill on ship to ship oil transfers The Scotsman, 3 December 2007
  13. ^
  14. ^ Lazarowicz in call to end oil transfer safety delaysThe Scotsman, 1 October 2010
  15. ^ Lazarowicz hails tough new laws on oil transfers in Forth The Scotsman, 10 December 2010
  16. ^ Carbon Trading Vital to Climate Success Dept of Energy & Climate Change
  17. ^ "MP to pay back some expenses". Teletext. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  18. ^ "9am Briefing: Labour MP Lazarowicz to pay back £2500 in expenses". Edinburgh Evening News. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  19. ^ Moore, Matthew (2009-05-13). "MPs' expenses: Backbenchers rush to return money amid disclosure fears". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  20. ^ Mark's claims for expenses and allowances
  21. ^ Letter from ACA Review

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Malcolm Chisholm
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North and Leith

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