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McLeish resignation Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 19:02 GMT
'Jack the knife' under fire
Jack McConnell and wife Bridget
Mr McConnell arrives with his wife for the reshuffle
Jack McConnell has come under fire over his Scottish Cabinet resuffle, with Nationalists accusing the first minister of hiring a "clique of cronies"

Scottish National Party Leader John Swinney said Mr McConnell had used the reshuffle to "settle scores and stab colleagues in the back".

Mr Swinney said: "Labour are forever claiming everything in the garden is rosy, but five cabinet ministers have just been ousted and more culled from the junior ranks.

John Swinney
John Swinney: "Clique of cronies"
"Today will go down as the day Labour admitted they have failed to deliver. Labour are now in turmoil.

"The real business of Scotland is being neglected as they fight their factional feuds."

Mr Swinney said public services were in disarray, child poverty was on the increase and Mr McConnell was more interested in internal spats within his party.

Scottish Tory Leader David McLetchie said Mr McConnell should have used the opportunity to reduce the number of ministers.

He said: "Jack the Knife has demonstrated straight away that he is more concerned about putting one over on his political opponents within the Labour Party than he is about delivering keener, fitter government for the people of Scotland.

"However the first minister should watch his back. He may come to rue the day he placed so many potentially dangerous rivals on the Labour backbenches."


I don't really care who is in or out of Labour's cabinet, they will all be following New Labour's agenda

SSP Leader Tommy Sheridan
Scottish Socialist Party Leader Tommy Sheridan expressed anger that former ministers would receive compensation.

He promised to write to Presiding Officer Sir David Steel to suggest that former parliamentary business manager Tom McCabe should no longer receive a 9,000 accommodation allowance.

He said: "I don't really care who is in or out of Labour's cabinet, they will all be following New Labour's agenda.

"I do however strongly object to the sacked ministers getting large handouts at the taxpayer's expense."

Green Party MSP Robin Harper said Mr McConnell should have appointed a minister with sole responsibility for transport.

He also attacked the decision to leave the environment portfolio in the hands of Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie.

Robin Harper
Robin Harper: Transport anger
He said: "At the last executive reshuffle under Henry McLeish the environment post was deprioritised within the cabinet and now Jack McConnell has demoted transport as well."

However, Scotland's largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, welcomed Cathy Jamieson's appointment as education minister.

General secretary Ronnie Smith said: "As the former convener of the parliament's cross-party group on children and young people, the minister clearly has a keen understanding of the types of issues and challenges surrounding education in Scotland."

The Scottish Countryside Alliance said the appointment of Mike Watson would be met with "outrage" in rural communities.

Mr Watson has been at loggerheards with people in the countryside over his bill proposing a ban on hunting with dogs.

Alliance director Allan Murray said the bill should now be dropped.


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27 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
27 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
27 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
23 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
26 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
23 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
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