Michelle Thomson

Michelle Rhonda Thomson (born 11 March 1965) is a Scottish businesswoman and former politician. She is the co-founder of Momentous Change Ltd,[1] a consultancy she set up with Professor Roger Mullin in 2017 to help organisations manage change. In 2018, Momentous Change published its first report, Brexit and Scottish Business.[2]

Michelle Thomson
SNP Spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills
In office
20 May 2015 – 30 September 2015
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byHannah Bardell
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh West
In office
8 May 2015 – 3 May 2017
Preceded byMike Crockart
Succeeded byChristine Jardine
Personal details
Born
Michelle Rhonda Perks

(1965-03-11) 11 March 1965 (age 55)
Bearsden, Scotland, UK
Political partyScottish National Party
(1981–2015, 2018–)
Independent (2015–17)
Alma materRoyal Scottish Academy of
Music and Drama

Prior to this, Thomson was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West from May 2015 until May 2017. She served as the SNP Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson in the House of Commons until her resignation of the party whip in September 2015.[3][4] She was also a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee from 2015 to 2017.[5]

Since stepping down from the House of Commons in 2017, she has been appointed as Ambassador for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking.[6]

Early life and careerEdit

Thomson graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1985.

Thomson initially worked as a professional musician and then completed a post graduate diploma in Information technology (IT).[7] She worked in Financial Services for Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland for over 23 years in a variety of senior roles delivering IT and business change. In 2009 she set up her own small business in property.[8][9]

Momentous Change LtdEdit

Thomson established Momentous Change Ltd in 2017 with co-founder Professor Roger Mullin. Momentous Change is a niche consultancy providing support to businesses through economic management and operational change. The firm self-funded research involving 236 senior Scottish business leaders across industry to establish their concerns over Brexit. The final report was published in February 2018. Its principal findings and recommendations included the need for a new skills strategy[10] and greater financial and practical support from government.[11]

In November 2018, Thomson was a co-author of a Momentous Change Ltd report into the prospects for establishing a Scottish Stock Exchange.[12]

Political careerEdit

Thomson joined the Scottish National Party at the age of sixteen in 1981.[9] She became prominent politically during the Scottish independence referendum campaign, with the "Yes" campaign. She was elected as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West in 2015 with a majority of 3,210 votes and a 39% share of the vote; with a swing of 25.8% from Liberal Democrat to SNP.

As part of her role on the BEIS committee, Thomson was one of the members of the joint committee inquiries into the collapse of BHS,[13] into the working practices of Sports Direct.[14][15]

The Sunday Post described her as one of the SNP MPs to watch in the new parliament.[16][17] The National described Thomson as "a breath of fresh air" in light of her broad-based life experience.[18]

In December 2016, in a House of Commons debate focused on UN International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women, Thomson described the impact of having been raped at the age of fourteen years old, highlighting the conditions of silence and shame that prevent rape from being discussed or reported.[19]

Thomson was sitting as an independent MP when the 2017 snap general election was called on 18 April 2017. The SNP's national executive met four days later and ruled that they would not endorse her as an SNP candidate. She did not stand as an independent at that election, issuing a statement that noted, "even in political parties the concept of natural justice must apply, as must the need for defined processes that are applied fairly, rigorously and transparently. I would advise the SNP to employ the services of an external body to help them develop a process as soon as possible."[20]

Property allegationsEdit

In September 2015, Thomson was accused by an article in The Sunday Times of having built her buy-to-let property portfolio by buying homes for below-market prices.[21]

In late-September 2015, Police Scotland announced it had launched an inquiry into "alleged irregularities" related to the property transactions which had seen her solicitor struck off.[22] The same day the SNP issued a statement on behalf of Thomson, announcing that she had decided to withdraw herself from the party whip whilst the investigation was ongoing. In resigning the whip, Thomson also lost her SNP membership and her role as the SNP's Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson at Westminster.[4] Thomson subsequently claimed she had been forced to resign the whip.[23][24][25]

Eight months after the story broke, Thomson issued a press statement noting that there had been no contact with her from Police Scotland.[26]

In August 2017, the investigation was dropped.[27] Former Scottish Government Minister Kenny MacAskill said the SNP had lessons to learn over their handling of her case.[28] Former First Minister Alex Salmond was also quoted as saying how badly Thomson had been treated by the media and the SNP.[29]

She rejoined the SNP in October 2018.[30]

PublicationsEdit

"Scottish Business and International Trade - Perceptions of the Scottish Business Diaspora", Momentous Change Ltd, January 2020.

"Why Banks Must Change"[31] International Banker, 5 September 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018. Why Banks Must Change

"A Stock Exchange for Scotland: Early background research", Momentous Change Ltd, November 2018.

"The Illusion Of Stability Gives Way To The Reality Of Change In Capital Markets - Introducing Scotland's New Stock Exchange"[32] International Banker, 11 June 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019. The Illusion of Stability Gives Way to the Reality of Change in Capital Markets: Introducing Scotland’s New Stock Exchange

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Momentous Change Ltd - Home". momentouschangeltd.co.uk.
  2. ^ http://momentouschangeltd.co.uk/images/news/2018/FINAL_Brexit_and_Scottish_Business_report.pdf
  3. ^ "List of Members returned to Parliament at the General Election 2015 Scotland". The Edinburgh Gazette. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Probe over property deals on behalf of Michelle Thomson MP". BBC News Online. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee membership at the end of Parliament 2015-17 - News from Parliament". UK Parliament. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  6. ^ http://www.appgbanking.org.uk/about-us/
  7. ^ "THOMSON, Michelle Rhonda". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Midlothian elects Owen Thompson as council leader". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Press. 9 May 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b The Independent. "The City should not dismiss the SNP as a single issue party". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  10. ^ "UK Brexit stance is 'against' the interest of Scottish business". HeraldScotland.
  11. ^ "Scottish businesses call for 'urgent clarity' on which EU powers will be devolved to Holyrood". The National.
  12. ^ http://www.momentouschangeltd.co.uk/images/news/2018/Final-Report---Stock-Exchange.pdf
  13. ^ "BHS inquiry". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  14. ^ Farrell, Sean (9 November 2016). "Mike Ashley asked to explain 'secret filming' of MPs' Sports Direct visit" – via www.theguardian.com.
  15. ^ Goodley, Simon (7 November 2016). "Sports Direct accused of secretly recording MPs during warehouse visit" – via www.theguardian.com.
  16. ^ Millar, James (9 May 2015). "Out with the old and in with the new – 12 SNP MPs to watch". Sunday Post. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  17. ^ Tufft, Ben (8 May 2015). "Scottish MPs in Westminster: The full list of the SNP parliamentarians". The Independent. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  18. ^ Hannan, Martin (7 July 2015). "Meet your new Scottish MPs: #34 Michelle Thomson, Edinburgh West". The National. Scotland.
  19. ^ "Michelle Thomson MP recalls being raped at age of 14". BBC News. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  20. ^ Jackson, Russell (22 April 2017). "Michelle Thomson to step down as MP after SNP ruling". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  21. ^ Macaskill, Mark; Ungoed-Thomas, Jon (20 September 2015). "SNP MP snaps up homes of struggling families". The Times. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  22. ^ Sanderson, Daniel (29 September 2015). "Police launch inquiry into property deals involving SNP MP". The Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Ex-SNP MP Michelle Thomson urges Nicola Sturgeon to apologise to her after being cleared in mortgage fraud probe".
  24. ^ "Michelle Thomson breaks her silence: 'My two years of hell'". HeraldScotland.
  25. ^ "Scotland's papers: 'My two years of hell'". 6 August 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  26. ^ "Suspended SNP MP reveals lack of police contact amid property firm investigation". HeraldScotland.
  27. ^ "Michelle Thomson: Fraud case against former SNP MP dropped". BBC News. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Kenny MacAskill: Lessons to be learned from Michelle Thomson case". www.scotsman.com.
  29. ^ "Salmond criticises SNP over Thomson". 12 August 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  30. ^ "Former MP Michelle Thomson has rejoined the SNP". www.scotsman.com.
  31. ^ "Why Banks Must Change". International Banker. 5 September 2018.
  32. ^ "The Illusion Of Stability Gives Way To The Reality Of Change In Capital Markets - Introducing Scotland's New Stock". International Banker. 11 June 2019.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mike Crockart
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh West

20152017
Succeeded by
Christine Jardine