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McLeish resignation Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 10:54 GMT
Deacon lifts lid on resignation
Susan Deacon with nurses
Susan Deacon said nurses wanted to get their hands on her
Former health minister Susan Deacon has told of her reasons for quitting the Scottish cabinet.

She resigned her post rather than accept the social justice brief she was offered by First Minister Jack McConnell in his reshuffle.

But Ms Deacon has stressed that she stood down as she did not want to take on the new role while she was pregnant - and not because she thought it was a demotion.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell reshuffled his cabinet
The former health minister was one of five cabinet members who were sacked or stood down during Mr McConnell's reshuffle last week.

The other casualties were former social justice minister Jackie Baillie, transport minister Sarah Boyack, parliament minister Tom McCabe and finance minister Angus Mackay.

Ms Deacon was replaced as health minister by her former deputy, Malcolm Chisholm.

In an interview with the Daily Record, she said she did not think she would have time to master the new brief before taking maternity leave.

"I believe it takes new ministers three or four months to really get on top of their brief," she told the paper.

'Getting to grips'

"It is one thing continuing to do a job you know and quite another to take on a completely different challenge.

"Had I moved to social justice I would have been going off to have my child just as I was getting to grips with things.

"I don't think that would have been good for the department or the country as a whole."

Malcolm Chisholm
Malcolm Chisholm is the new health minister
Ms Deacon, who already has a four-year-old daughter Clare, told The Herald that she thought "long and hard" about continuing as a minister - but felt she had made the right decision.

She also said that she would have enjoyed the symbolism of having her baby through the NHS while health minister.

"I was at this big Labour Party event and women came up and said it was fantastic that I would be carrying on.

"I would be a role model and wasn't it great sending out the right signals as a health minister having a baby.

"I made the decision that given the right back-up it was do-able and that a virtue could have been made of the whole thing," she said.

She added that the midwives and nurses had been "quite excited" about getting their hands on the health minister.


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29 Nov 01 | Scottish Cabinet
28 Nov 01 | Scottish Cabinet
27 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
26 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
27 Nov 01 | McLeish resignation
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