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Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 13:33 GMT
Labour MP attacks Dewar

Donald Dewar and journalists Mr Dewar has faced questions over his special advisers

A Labour MP has launched a fierce public attack on Scottish First Minister Donald Dewar.

George Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, complained Westminster MPs could suffer electoral damage from the "dog's breakfast" in Scotland presided over by Mr Dewar.

He predicted Mr Dewar could even be replaced before the year is out.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Galloway said he and his fellow MPs had an interest to declare in events which saw the resignation of one special adviser and a public apology from another.

George Galloway George Galloway: "Dog's breakfast"
Mr Galloway said: "We are the next Labour representatives to face the voters and frankly every last one of us thinks Dewar is dragging us down.

"It is high time his parliamentary party got a grip of things before, embarrassingly, Tony Blair has to do it for us."

The controversy began with the abrupt departure of one of Mr Dewar's special advisors, Philip Chalmers, after two convictions for drink-related motoring offences came to light.

Chief media adviser David Whitton also found himself in trouble following his dealings with journalists over the Chalmers affair.

That deepened in a wider row over how that episode was handled and portrayed to the media, and over the role of special advisors in general.

David Whitton David Whitton: Forced to apologise
In his savagely-worded attack, Mr Galloway went on to criticise Mr Dewar's official spokesman, David Whitton, and the head of Mr Dewar's policy unit, Brian Fitzpatrick.

"Donald's dog's breakfast has to come to an end now and the table has to be reset," said Mr Galloway.

Recalling that Labour has no deputy to Mr Dewar, the MP said: "They'd better get one quick, because I predict he or she will be in the hot seat before the year is out."

On Friday, Mr Dewar appealed to party members to judge his administration on its achievements rather than "personal tragedies".

In a speech to party activists in Glasgow marking Labour's 1,000 days in power, Mr Dewar referred to the controversy over his team of advisers.

He said: "A special adviser went as soon as the sad facts of the case emerged. I said yesterday that I was disappointed and dismayed and I hold to that."

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See also:
28 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Dewar goes on the offensive
27 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Dewar dismay over fresh adviser row
26 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Dewar's woe as spin doctor apologises
25 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Second Dewar aide quits
07 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Rafferty refutes dossier 'threat'
13 Dec 99 |  Scotland
'No debate' on Rafferty sacking
05 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Minister dismisses 'spin doctor' row
13 May 99 |  News
Scotland's PM in waiting
20 May 99 |  UK Politics
Who's who in the Scottish Cabinet

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