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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 21:28 GMT
Profile: Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie is an outside contender
Name: Jackie Baillie

Born: Hong Kong

Age: 37

Education: Strathclyde University

MSP for: Dumbarton

Position: Social Justice

Jackie Baillie is one of three women who are likely to be quoted as a possible successors to Henry McLeish.

The 37-year-old social justice minister is popular within the Labour Party and has impressed colleagues since her elevation from deputy minister last year.

Although Health Minister Susan Deacon and Enterprise Minister Wendy Alexander have more experience at top level politics they also have more critics and enemies.

It is Ms Baillie's broader appeal which is likely to be her greatest advantage if she chooses to announce her candidacy in the days ahead.

Jackie Baillie
Jackie Baillie is a popular Labour minister
Born in 1964 in Hong Kong, Jackie Baillie was educated at St Anne's School, Windermere, Cumbernauld College and at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Now married with one daughter, Ms Baillie is also currently studying towards the MSc in Local Economic Development at University of Glasgow.

After the Scottish Parliament elections in 1999, Donald Dewar installed her as Wendy Alexander's deputy in the communities portfolio.

During this time she had to contend with the controversy surrounding the repeal of Section 28 and plans for the transfer of housing stock outwith local authority control.

Personal endorsement

When Mr Dewar died, Jackie Baillie supported Henry McLeish's bid to become Scottish Labour leader and first minister.

Her role in the successful campaign was rewarded with elevation to communities minister after Wendy Alexander was transferred to enterprise.

In the past year, Ms Baillie has driven forward the housing stock transfer legislation and been at the forefront of several other high-profile initiatives on domestic abuse and asylum seekers.

At 37, she may be considered too young for the top job and may opt to consolidate her position with a future campaign in mind.

Even if Ms Baillie does not stand, her personal endorsement will provide a significant boost to another candidate.

Either way, she is likely to be a key player in deciding who is the next first minister of Scotland.

See also:

09 Sep 01 | Scotland
Executive appoints asylum minister
13 Feb 01 | Scotland
Calls to abuse helpline soar
04 Sep 01 | Scotland
Voluntary sector gets funding boost
08 Nov 01 | Scotland
Homeless problem under scrutiny
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