London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Joanna Cherry is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh South West since 2015. She is a Scottish politician and lawyer. Between 2015 and 2021, she served as the Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State. This position was for the Scottish National Party (SNP). If you are interested to know more about Joana and her political achievements, read below.
Bio & Early Life
Joanna Catherine Cherry KC (born 18 March 1966) in Scotland. Her parents are Mary Margaret (née Haslette) and Thomas Alastair Cherry. She attended Holy Cross primary school, St Margaret’s Convent School in Edinburgh, and the University of Edinburgh. You will be surprised to know that she worked for the Scottish Law Commission as a research assistant (1990). However, it was much before joining Brodies WS in Edinburgh as a solicitor in 1995. From 1990 to 1996, she also taught constitutional law, family law, and civil court practice at the University of Edinburgh part-time.
Joanna became a lawyer in 1995, specializing in employment and industrial relations, health and safety, mental health, and personal injury. Between 2003 and 2008, she served as a Standing Junior Counsel for the Scottish Government. During these years, she served as an Advocate Depute and Senior Advocate Depute. After serving as a Queen’s Counsel in 2009 she worked as an advocate for Arnot Manderson within the Faculty of Advocates.
2015 Election To Westminster
Joanna was adopted as the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate for Edinburgh South West in February 2015. With a reduced majority of just over 1,000 votes, she held the seat in the subsequent June 2017 general election. Making it the most marginal seat in Edinburgh at the time.
Cherry was appointed to be SNP spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs at Westminster following her election. Her apology was issued in September 2016 after she defended the comedy rap group’s homophobic performance at a pro-independence event. In the performance, Ruth Davidson was called Dykey D and she was making inappropriate comments to SNP MP Mhairi Black.
In May 2017, Cherry apologized for revealing the journalists about a nurse. She was unable to survive on her salary and used food banks. However, the wife of a Conservative councilor was suspected in this case. SNP politicians retweeted false claims about Claire Austin, and the nurse faced harassment online and offline. The Scottish branch of PEN International condemned Cherry for threatening defamation action against critics. They all openly questioned her on 21 February 2021.
Her solicitors published letters on her behalf after Cherry disputed taking legal action. Jo Maugham, with whom she had worked on the legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament, wrote on her behalf. ‘’Because defending defamation proceedings is so expensive, a well-funded claimant can bully critics into silence and, by marking the threats ‘confidential’, suppress transparency over the fact they are doing so. This feels profoundly wrong to me.”
2019 General Elections
In the 2019 general election, Cherry was re-elected as MP for Edinburgh South West, with an increased majority of nearly 12,000. In February 2020, Cherry revealed her plan to seek nomination from the SNP Edinburgh Central constituency branch. It was to run as their candidate for Edinburgh Central in the Scottish Parliament.
Joanna revealed she will be compelled to stand down from her position as an MP in the House of Commons after the election. Similarly, Angus Robertson announced his intention to also pursue nomination for this constituency. Cherry decided against a bid for Holyrood claiming that the conditions were unreasonable and not conducive to a fair contest.
On 1 February 2021, the SNP’s leadership removed Joanna Cherry from their front bench. In response, Cherry wrote on Twitter: “Despite hard work, results, and a strong reputation I’ve been sacked today from the SNP front bench.”
Meanwhile, Westminster leader Ian Blackford noted that successful teamwork and collaboration are essential to achieving desired outcomes. He declared his belief that these personnel changes will form a powerful team going forward. An SNP spokesperson commented that Cherry had been taken off their front bench on account of unacceptable conduct.
Role In Scottish Independence
Joanna Cherry is regarded as a determined advocate of Scottish independence. She has a lesser conservative approach to a second referendum than Nicola Sturgeon. Moreover, she maintains that the Irish First Dáil provides a potential path for the Scottish independence movement. She reveals:
“Ninety-one years ago, Irish independence was realized not due to a referendum but rather through a treaty made between Irish parliamentarians and the British Government after nationalist MPs won the majority of seats in the 1918 general election and established an interim government in Dublin.” Despite her extreme stance on Scotland’s autonomy, Cherry insists she is not advocating an illegal referendum.
Rights For Transgender
As part of the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, she opposed the current system of interviewing a bureaucratic panel. However, she believed in obtaining medical reports along with a Gender Recognition Certificate, replacing the current system. In opposition to the reforms, she signed the SNP Women’s Pledge, which originated amongst SNP members but is not affiliated with it.
Joanna has denied accusations of transphobia, stating that she approaches the issue “as a feminist”. There has been “a heavy dose of misogyny” in debates over the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. Few sections of the SNP with opposing views have engaged in “performative histrionics reminiscent of the Salem witch trials”. In October 2021, Joanna openly criticized the administration of Joe Biden. It was when they planned to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. Joanna likes to keep liberal political views that go in favor of public.
Personal Life & Net Worth
Joanna claims to be in a relationship with a woman. She has not kept her sexual orientation secret from anyone in the media. Apart from that her interests include swimming, reading, traveling, and much more. Her total net worth is estimated to be $7 million. She currently resided in a posh apartment in Scotland.