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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK


UK Politics

Scotland Office shake-up complete

Dr John Reid is "delighted" with the new appointments

Scotland's new ministerial team has taken shape with a final new appointment to the Scotland Office.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale will become spokeswoman in the Lords, maintaining Scotland's four-strong representation at Westminster.


BBC Westminster Correspondent David Porter reports
She helped push through the devolution legislation through the Lords with Lord Sewel, one of two casualties in the reshuffle.

The appointment follows news that Trade Minister Brian Wilson will move to Scotland, while Edinburgh Pentlands MP Linda Clarke maintains her position as Advocate General.

The new team follows a major shake-up of middle and lower ministerial ranks on Wednesday which saw two ministers sacked and a third promoted.


[ image: Brian Wilson: new post in Scotland]
Brian Wilson: new post in Scotland
Agriculture Minister Lord Sewel and Housing and Transport Minister Calum MacDonald have been axed from their posts.

And Industry Minister Lord Gus Macdonald has been promoted to a UK role in the transport department.

Brian Wilson has been moved sideways from the Department of Trade and Industry to become Minister of State at the Scotland Office.

Dr John Reid said he was delighted Mr Wilson was joining his new team.

He said: "Brian has a great deal of experience of Scottish politics and is widely respected in Government and across Scotland.


Dr Reid: "We will be pursuing the interests of Scotland"
"He will be a major addition to our efforts to represent Scotland within the UK Government.

"I would like to pay tribute to Calum MacDonald MP, John Sewel and Gus Macdonald who all served Scotland well during their time as ministers at The Scottish Office," he added.

Brian Wilson said he was looking forward to getting involved in Scottish issues in his new role at the Scotland Office.

The MP for Cunninghame North said: "This appointment suits me very well, both personally and politically. I now look forward to being involved once again in those Scottish issues which remain the responsibility of the UK Parliament.


[ image: Lord Macdonald: Promoted]
Lord Macdonald: Promoted
"At the same time I am delighted to retain a role on trade policy issues in the run up to the next World Trade Organisation round.

"As we learned through the banana war and other current disputes, these are not abstract matters of policy but can have a direct bearing on British jobs and businesses."

He added: "I have been asked particularly to co-ordinate a UK Government position on how free trade principles can accommodate other concerns about labour and environment."

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Helen Liddell is to become Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry.

She will take on the crucial issue of the single currency and the energy responsibilities formerly held by Lord Simon of Highbury.

Lord Macdonald, who helped broker a deal to save the Kvaerner Govan shipyard recently, is being promoted to the politically sensitive post of Transport Minister to replace Mrs Liddell.

The Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister believes that he is someone of real experience, real drive and achievement who will support John Prescott in tackling the transport problems inherited from the last government."

Reid 'delighted'

Scottish Secretary John Reid said he was delighted with Lord Macdonald's promotion.

"He has been an outstanding success as a Scottish Office minister and I think that we could have picked no one better to face up to the challenge of the transport issue," he added.

Lord Sewel, who lost his job as agriculture minister at the Scottish Office, piloted the devolution legislation through the House of Lords.

After the reshuffle, he spoke of his immense pride at being given such a task.

The government announced only one change in the Cabinet on Wednesday, with Paul Murphy taking over as Welsh Secretary from Alun Michael, who has become the First Secretary in Cardiff.

Scottish MPs Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, Alistair Darling, George Robertson and John Reid retained their existing portfolios in the full Cabinet.



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