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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 21:27 GMT
Profile: Angus MacKay
Angus MacKay
Angus MacKay may emerge as a candidate
Name: Angus MacKay

Born: Edinburgh

Age: 37

Education: Politics and Modern History degree at Edinburgh University

MSP for: Edinburgh South

Position: Finance and Local Government

Angus MacKay's meteoric rise through the ranks of Scottish Labour makes him a contender for leadership of the party and the post of first minister.

The 37-year-old finance minister made the leap from local councillor to cabinet member in just five years and is every inch the New Labour man the UK party would be happy with.

He took over the portfolio from Jack McConnell and is likely to face the education minister if he chooses to contest the leadership.

The biggest obstacles to his ambitions, however, will be a perceived lack of experience and difficulty in gaining enough support in Labour's electoral college.

Angus MacKay
Angus MacKay was previously a councillor
Born in Edinburgh in 1964, Angus MacKay attended St Augustine's High School and went on to obtain a degree in politics and modern history.

He was elected to Edinburgh City Council in 1995 but stood down to contest the Scottish Parliament election in 1999.

Mr MacKay began to make an impact at Holyrood shortly after being returned as the MSP for Edinburgh South.

Donald Dewar chose him to deputise for Jim Wallace in the justice portfolio.

He survived an early gaffe after claiming that the sex offenders register in Scotland was a matter reserved for Westminster.

Despite opposition calls for his resignation he carried on and made several notable announcements on anti-drug legislation.

Broad-based support

It was Mr Dewar's death, however, which thrust the relatively inexperienced MSP into the limelight.

He was instrumental in the campaign to elect Henry McLeish as Scottish party leader and first minister - a role which saw him rewarded with the finance post.

In the past year he has revised the Scottish Executive's budget to meet Mr McLeish's pledge to implement free personal care for the elderly.

Mr MacKay is viewed by many as a future first minister but like several other candidates he will have to decide whether the opportunity has come too soon.

Like other cabinet hopefuls, Tom McCabe and Jackie Baillie, he may need to bide his time and build broad-based support throughout the party in preparation for a future bid.

Even if he doesn't stand, Mr MacKay will be one of the 'kingmakers' who paves the way for Scotland's new first minister.

See also:

28 Jun 01 | Scotland
Scots get elderly care funding
18 Jan 01 | Scotland
Bang goes the quango speech
07 Dec 00 | Scotland
Council cash increases unveiled
25 Jul 00 | Scotland
Resignation call over sex list
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