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Joanna Catherine Cherry QC (born 18 March 1966) is a Scottish politician, member of the Scottish National Party (SNP). She has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh South West since May 2015,[1][2] and is the SNP Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson in the House of Commons.

Joanna Cherry

SNP Spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs
Assumed office
20 May 2015
LeaderAngus Robertson
Ian Blackford
Preceded byPosition established
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh South West
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAlistair Darling
Majority1,097 (2.2%)
Personal details
Joanna Catherine Cherry

(1966-03-18) 18 March 1966 (age 53)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh


Cherry was born on 18 March 1966 to Mary Margaret (née Haslette) and Thomas Alastair Cherry.[3] She was educated at Holy cross then St Margaret's Convent School in Edinburgh[4] and the University of Edinburgh, where she gained a first-class Bachelor of Laws honours degree in 1988, a Master of Laws degree in 1989 and a Diploma in Legal Practice in 1990.


Following her graduation, Cherry worked as a research assistant with the Scottish Law Commission (1990) before practising as a solicitor with the Edinburgh legal firm Brodies WS until 1995. She also worked as a part-time tutor in constitutional law, family law and civil court practice at the University of Edinburgh from 1990–1996.[5]

Cherry was admitted as an advocate in 1995, with a particular interest in employment and industrial relations, health and safety, mental health, personal injury and professional negligence.[3][5]

She served as a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government from 2003 to 2008, and as an Advocate Depute and Senior Advocate Depute from 2008 until 2011. She was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2009[6] and was an advocate with the Arnot Manderson stable within the Faculty of Advocates [7] until her election to parliament.[8]

Cherry set up the "Lawyers for Yes" group, which campaigned for a "Yes" (pro-independence) vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[9] In February 2015, she was adopted as the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate for Edinburgh South West in the May 2015 UK general election.[10] She won the election and was re-elected in June 2017.[11]

On 1 May 2019, BBC News covered MPs condemning Facebook and Twitter for their handling of online harassment incidents against MPs, and reported that Joanna Cherry cited tweets.[12]

On 8 May 2019 The Daily Telegraph reported she had had her official credit card repeatedly suspended for failing to repay money.[13]

On 11 May 2019 The Times reported that Cherry was being investigated by the House of Commons over bullying complaints from four former employees.[14] She was criticised for using the bullying claims – and accusations of transphobia[15] – to advance her leadership ambitions.[16] One former staffer (out of four who made complaints) took the complaint forward, though Cherry was exonerated from these accusations on 28 June 2019 after an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.[17]

On 30 July 2019 Cherry was the leading litigant in the Scottish courts in challenging the five-week prorogation of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a case that was ultimately successful in the Supreme Court resulting in the quashing of the prorogation on 24 September 2019.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Her personal interests are travel, reading, swimming.[3] Cherry is openly lesbian.[19]


  1. ^ "List of Members returned to Parliament at the General Election 2015 Scotland". The Edinburgh Gazette. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Scottish MPs in Westminster: The full list of the SNP parliamentarians". Ben Tufft. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Cherry, Joanna Catherine, (born 18 March 1966), QC (Scot.) 2009; MP (SNP) Edinburgh South West, since 2015 | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u250752. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". David Leask. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b Carr, Tim (18 May 2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015: Profiles of the New MPs and Analysis of the 2015 General Election Results. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849549240.
  6. ^ "Twelve new Queen's Counsel appointed". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Joanna Cherry QC joins AM Advocates | Arnot Manderson Advocates". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Election 2015: the lawyers standing for Parliament – Lawyer 2B". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  9. ^ ""Lawyers for Yes" sign independence declaration". The Journal. Law Society of Scotland. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Joanna Cherry QC chosen as SNP candidate in Edinburgh South West". Scottish Legal News. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Edinburgh South West Parliamentary constituency". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Johnson, Simon (8 May 2019). "Four Scottish MPs repeatedly have official credit cards suspended for failing to pay back money". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  14. ^ "SNP MP Joanna Cherry investigated after staff bullying complaints". The Times. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  15. ^ "SNP MP Joanna Cherry says 'bully' claims may be part of smearing by her own party". The Scotsman. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Joanna Cherry, now's not the time for SNP leadership ambitions". The Scotsman. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Andrew Reynolds (13 May 2015). "The UK broke its own record for LGBT representation last week". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 July 2015.

External linksEdit