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banner Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 15:31 GMT
Labour urged to back new Scots leader
Dr John Reid
Dr Reid wants party activists to "forget the froth"
Dr John Reid has urged Labour Party activists to unite behind new Scottish leader, Jack McConnell.

The Northern Ireland secretary called on rank and file members to "forget the froth" surrounding Saturday's leadership election and concentrate on the business of government.

Speaking during a visit to his Hamilton North and Bellshill constituency, Dr Reid said he had great faith in Mr McConnell's ability to lead the party and country.

His comments came less than 24 hours after the education minister was elevated to Scottish Labour leader with 97.23% of the vote in an "affirmatory ballot" at the party's Glasgow headquarters.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell was elected on Saturday
Mr Reid said: "Over the past few weeks the detractors of the Scottish Parliament have had a field day.

"The Scottish Parliament is stronger, more resilient and much more effective than its detractors suspect.

"It is now time to show that in action. Let's forget the froth, unite and get back to real politics."

He also referred to a Sunday newspaper poll, which showed many Scots thought Jack McConnell, if elected, should continue as first minister even if more revelations surface about his private life.

The Scotland on Sunday survey results showed 49% of respondents thought he should not be required to resign as first minister if further details were disclosed.

'Real challenges'

This compared to 38% who felt he should leave office under such circumstances, while 13% said they were unsure.

Dr Reid said these results showed that ordinary people were more interested in the issues, which affected their day to day lives, rather than "the microscopic minutiae of politicians' private lives".

He added: "It is now time for leadership on the real challenges facing Scotland - improving education and health, reforming public services and strengthening the economy.

"Jack McConnell will provide that leadership at the head of a united and committed Labour Party."

See also:

17 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
McConnell sets priorities for office
17 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
McConnell's clear run to the top job
17 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
Opposition scorn for Scots Labour leader
17 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
Scottish Labour in leadership vote
14 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
Date set for Labour leader vote
13 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
McConnell alone in leadership fight
10 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
Deacon rules herself out of contest
09 Nov 01 | Scotland
Search begins for new first minister
11 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
Trade union warns leadership hopefuls
Links to more McLeish resignation stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more McLeish resignation stories