Gavin Strang was elected Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East in June 1970. He is a full time MP and lives in Edinburgh with his family.
Born in 1943, the son of a tenant farmer, he grew up in Perthshire. He studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities and holds a BSc (hons) in Genetics (Edinburgh), a Diploma in Agricultural Science (Cambridge) and a Phd in Agricultural Science (Edinburgh). He worked as a scientist with the Agricultural Research Council, Animal Breeding Research Organisation in Edinburgh.
Gavin Strang joined the Labour Party when he was 18. He was Chairman of Perth Labour Party Young Socialists and Treasurer of Edinburgh University Labour Club. He was Chairman of Portobello Labour Party and Treasurer of East Edinburgh Constituency Labour Party before being selected as the Labour candidate in 1968. He served as a member of the Government’s Tayside Economic Planning Consultative Group prior to his election to parliament.
Between 1970 and 1974 he served on the Select Committees on Science and Technology and on Scottish Affairs. He was appointed as a Labour Spokesman for Scottish Affairs, and later for Trade and Industry.
When Labour was elected to Government in February 1974, he was appointed Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Energy with responsibility for North Sea Oil. Following the election in October 1974 he became Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. He remained there until Labour lost power in 1979. In 1977, when Britain had the EC Presidency, he led the UK delegation in the Council of Agriculture Ministers.
Throughout the 1980’s, Gavin Strang was active in the campaign against the build up of nuclear weapons in Europe. He was secretary and later Chairman of the Parliamentary CND, Chairman of Labour Action for Peace, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Defence Committee.
In the mid ’80’s, the spread of HIV and AIDS became a major public health issue, particularly in Edinburgh where there was a serious spread of HIV linked with drug taking. Under the Private Member’s Bill procedure, Gavin Strang successfully introduced the 1987 AIDS Control Act.
At the end of the 1980’s, Gavin Strang was a Labour Spokesperson on employment matters. Between 1992 and 1997 Gavin Strang was the principal Labour spokesperson on Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs. He was an elected member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet until the 1997 General Election. After Labour’s victory at the election, he was appointed to the Cabinet and was Transport Minister from 1997 to 1998.
Gavin Strang campaigned against and voted against the invasion of Iraq. His current interests include HIV/AIDS and nuclear weapons proliferation. He is a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He is Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for World Government. His personal interests include watching football, golf, cycling, swimming and the countryside.