Victory in 2001
Sandra, second eldest of a family of five, is married with two daughters and two grand-daughters. Sandra was educated in Paisley and after attending night classes went on to Jordanhill College where she gained the Diploma in Community Education. After working as a community worker in Glasgow she moved to Ayrshire where she spent 14 years as a counsellor with Kilmarnock Women's Aid. After studying two years part time at Strathclyde University she graduated Master of Science in Equality and Discrimination. In 1997 Sandra was one of the shortlisted finalists in the Scottish Woman of the Year Award (Glasgow Evening Times) nominated for her work with abused women.
First ever Labour MP for Ayr
Sandra was the councillor for Whitletts on Kyle and Carrick District Council and South Ayrshire Council where she also served as Convener of Community Services (Housing and Social Work). Sandra is a member of the UNITE Union and has been active in the Labour Party for 36 years serving for a time as Ayr CLP Secretary.
In May 1997 Sandra was elected MP for Ayr Constituency - its first ever
Labour MP and first ever woman MP. Sandra was re-elected in June
She served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Helen Liddell
Secretary of State for Scotland from June 2002 until she stepped down because of her opposition to war with Iraq in March 2003. She had previously served as PPS to George Foulkes, Minister of State at the Scotland Office and his predecessor in that post, Brian Wilson'.
She has served as Chair of the Scottish Group of Labour MPs and member of the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party. She was a member of the Kerley Committee on the Renewal of Local Democracy, writing a minority report opposing PR for Local Government elections.
She was elected MP for the new constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock on 5 May 2005 with a majority of 9997. In 2005 she was appointed to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and also served as secretary of the All Party Group on Columbia and the Women Peace and Security Group.
On May 6th 2010 Sandra was re-elected with an increased vote and a majority of 9911. Sandra was elected Vice Chair of the the PLP Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the All Party Group on Equalities. In October 2010, she was appointed to the Defence Select Committee and the Council of Europe. She was also appointed Chair of the All Party Group on Afghanistan.
In January 2011, the Speaker appointed her to his Panel of Chairs. In May 2013 Sandra returned to serve on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee being elected to fill a vacancy by her fellow Labour MPs.
Her political interests include poverty; equalities (especially women's issues); International Development and foreign policy. She enjoys TV, reading, walking and spending time with her grandchildren.
Watch you tube videos of declaration of result for Ayr in 1997 and in 2001