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Monday, May 17, 1999 Published at 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK

UK Politics

Reid appointed Scottish secretary

Dr John Reid: Moves into full Cabinet role

Transport Minister John Reid has been appointed secretary of state for Scotland in a mini-reshuffle.

[ image: Geoff Hoon: Moves to the Foreign Office]
Geoff Hoon: Moves to the Foreign Office
Scottish Office Minister Helen Liddell has been promoted to Dr Reid's job as minister for transport, a Downing Street spokesman said.

Geoff Hoon was promoted from minister at the lord chancellor's department to become minister of state at the Foreign Office.

He succeeds the late Derek Fatchett, who died earlier this month.

Mr Hoon is replaced by Keith Vaz, currently unpaid parliamentary aide to Attorney General John Morris and Solicitor General Ross Cranston.

BBC Political Editor Robin Oakley: "John Reid has a no nonsence style"
The position of the lord chancellor's right-hand-man in the Commons has been downgraded to parliamentary under-secretary because Mr Vaz is entering the government for the first time.

The Scottish secretary position became vacant when Dr Reid's predecessor Donald Dewar was elected first minister of the new Scottish Parliament.

'Delighted and honoured'

Mr Dewar was bound by the Scotland Act to resign from the Cabinet as it does not permit the same person to hold both the posts of first minister and secretary of state.

John Reid: "I'm delighted to have been offered the job"
Dr Reid said he was "delighted and honoured" to have been appointed secretary of state for Scotland.

He dismissed suggestions he would effectively be the Chancellor Gordon Brown's 'man in Scotland,' saying: "I'm not a camp man."

Later he told the BBC: "The people of Scotland have said 'yes, we would like more say over our own affairs in Scotland but we would also want to play a part, share the benefits and some of the burdens of the people of the United Kingdom'."

It would be up to both him and Mr Dewar to make sure that happened, he said.

Dr Reid also paid tribute to Mrs Liddell, who, he said, had done a "stalwart job", particularly in recent weeks running the Scottish Office operation.

[ image: Helen Liddell: New transport minister]
Helen Liddell: New transport minister
Mrs Liddell, who was Mr Dewar's deputy in the run up to devolution, had been widely tipped to succeed him in the Cabinet.

Instead, she will work under Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

He and Mrs Liddell had spoken earlier in the day and congratulated each other on their appointments, he said.

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has written to Dr Reid calling for clarification on how many Scottish Office ministers there would be.

He believes there is "no justification" for a four-man ministerial team in the Scottish Office when its functions are wholly devolved.

Dr Reid said that would be a matter "for discussion with the prime minister".

In other moves resulting from devolution, Downing Street said Scottish Office ministers Henry McLeish and Sam Galbraith - both elected to the new Scottish Parliament - would stand down from their government jobs.

Calum MacDonald, Lord Sewel and Lord Macdonald of Tradeston will remain as Scottish Office parliamentary under-secretaries of state, with Lord Macdonald now drawing a ministerial salary.

Lynda Clark will become advocate general.

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17 May 99 | UK Politics
Dewar appointed as first minister

17 May 99 | UK Politics
Reid inherits a changing Scotland

17 May 99 | UK Politics
Liddell's 'no-nonsense' approach

10 May 99 | UK Politics
Tributes for Foreign Office minister

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