Michael Connarty (born 3 September 1947) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Linlithgow and Falkirk East from 2005 to 2015, and a variation of the same seat since 1992.
Michael Connarty was born in Coatbridge. He was educated at the local Roman Catholic High School (St. Patrick’s) on Muiryhall Street in the year below fellow MP John Reid and ahead of fellow MP Helen Liddell. He then studied at the University of Stirling, (1967–72) where he was elected as the sabbatical President of the Student Association from 1970–71 and received a BA in in 1972. He returned to study at Jordanhill College and Glasgow University 1975-76) where he received a Diploma in (DCE) in 1975. He was a special needs teacher from 1976 until he was elected to the House of Commons in 1992. He was also an Economics and Modern Studies teacher at a secondary school. He was elected as Honorary President of Stirling Student Association in 1983-84. He became a councillor on the Stirling District Council in 1977, becoming Council Leader in 1980 until he left the council in 1990. He was a member and Financial Comptroller of the Loch Lomond, Trossachs and Stirling Tourist Board 1981-1990. He was also a director of Stirling Economic and Enterprise Development Company (SEEDCO) from 1984-1990.
He unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary constituency of Stirling at the 1983 General Election but finished 5,133 behind the Conservative and Unionist future Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth. Connarty faced Forsyth again at Stirling at the 1987 General Election. Connarty came very close, but Forsyth was the eventual winner by a margin of 548.
Michael Connarty was elected to Westminster at the 1992 General Election for the Labour seat of Falkirk East with a majority of 7,969 following the retirement of the sitting MP Harry Ewing. Connarty used his maiden speech on 13 May 1992 to raise concerns about the fragility of the petro-chemical industry at Grangemouth, the largest town in Falkirk East .
Following the 1997 General Election he became the Parliamentary Private Secretaryto the Minister of Film and Tourism Tom Clarke but this appointment lasted only until 1998 when Clarke was sacked from government. Connarty has spent his parliamentary career as a backbencher and since 1998 has been a member of the European Scrutiny Select Committee, which is the committee responsible for scrutinising the legislation set by the European Parliament. He was appointed the Chair of the Committee from 2006-10. He was awarded the Inquisitor of the Year Award in the Threadneedle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards in 2007 for his Chairmanship during the committee investigation into the Lisbon Treaty.
Connarty was chairman of the Tribune Group of left-wing Labour MPs. Following the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the Scottish boundaries were redrawn and his constituency was enlarged and renamed as Linlithgow and East Falkirk with the second highest electorate in Scotland at 81,500. Linlithgow constituency was represented at Westminster by the former Father of the House of Commons, Tam Dalyell until he retired at the 2005 General Election, Linlithgow.
In 2011, he was appointed a UK Parliament representative on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). In 2013 he was elected as Chair of the PACE sub-committee on Education, Youth and Sport issues. He successfully acted as rapporteur for a report on recommendations on ‚Youth Access to Fundamental Rights‘ adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly in April 2013. He was a member of a special Ad-hoc Sub Committee investigating ‚Governance and Corruption in Football‘ meeting with FIFA and EUFA and the ECA. The report was tabled by Anne Brasseur (ALDE, Luxembourg) and adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly in 2013. He was appointed Rapporteur for a follow – up report on The Reform of Football Governance focusing on FIFA and EUFA(and the awarding of the Football World Cup to Qatar by FIFA) in January 2014.
He is a supporter of the British Humanist Association and is Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group and vice president of the National Youth Jazz Collective.
In November 2008, Connarty was one of 18 MPs who signed a Commons motion backing a Team GB football team at the 2012 Olympics, saying football „should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage“. The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.
Connarty was Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking since 2011. He is an active participant in the Parliamentarians Against Human Trafficking network working with like minded politicians across the EU, set up by the Human Trafficking Foundation. His Private Members Bill, Transparency of UK Company Supply Chains, which would have required UK Companies to audit and report on the ethical quality of their supply chain, was ‚talked out‘ by Jacob Rees-Mogg during its second reading on 18 January 2013.
He married Margaret Doran in 1969. They have a son and daughter. They also have two granddaughters and a grandson.
On 19 May 2009, the Daily Telegraph revealed that Connarty was the fifth highest claiming MP in the UK, having claimed £156,207 in allowances between 2007 and 2008, excluding travel costs. He replied by saying that the information upon which the revelations were based was stolen property.