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EDITIONS
Monday, 11 October, 1999, 22:36 GMT 23:36 UK
Reid remains at Scotland Office
John Reid
An unchanged Scotland Office will be headed by Dr John Reid
Westminster politician Dr John Reid will remain as Scottish Secretary - despite being widely tipped to become the UK's defence secretary.

It was thought the MP for Hamilton North was in poll position to take on the role as part of Prime Minister Tony Blair's new-look cabinet.

The autumn reshuffle announced on Monday produced a few surprises - the resignation of cabinet enforcer Jack Cunningham and the return of fallen Labour politician Peter Mandelson.

But what was seen as a sure bet - the appointment of Dr Reid as defence secretary - did not materialise and Geoff Hoon MP was given the job.

Cabinet reshuffle
Inquests are now expected to be held into how much the so-called "turf wars" between the Scottish secretary and First Minister Donald Dewar played its part in the PM's decision.

The case for making Dr Reid a high-profiled member of the UK cabinet was probably not helped when he became embroiled in the lobbygate affair.

Donald Dewar and John Reid
John Reid and Donald Dewar: Reports of turf wars
He became reluctantly involved when his lobbyist son, Kevin Reid, was filmed in an undercover operation by The Observer newspaper saying he knew the Scottish secretary "very, very well .... he is my father."

Friends close to Dr Reid - who once held the position of Armed Forces Minister - said on Monday that he was "rather relaxed" about the fact he has missed out on promotion.

He is believed to be away on holiday - an indication that he was not expecting to be called in to Number 10 by Mr Blair.

As the full reshuffle is made public, it is now clear that the Scotland Office will remain unchanged.

That means no new job for Scottish Minister Brian Wilson MP - who, it was thought, would have taken over from a newly promoted Dr Reid.

'Snub to Reid'

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond was quick to say that Dr Reid was snubbed.

He said: "John Reid was beaten by a junior Foreign Office Minister who wasn't even quoted as a runner.

"This is a total humiliation for John Reid."

But an agitated Mr Dewar said it was rather demeaning to Dr Reid to say that his continued presence in the Scotland Office was a humiliation.

"I was proud to be Scottish secretary and I am sure John Reid is equally proud. I will not be put off by the sneers of the nationalists," said Mr Dewar.

The Scottish Conservative Party interpreted Mr Blair's decision somewhat differently to the SNP. Its chairman Raymond Robertson said the move was an "unmistakable snub" to Mr Wilson's ambition of becoming Scottish secretary.

He said: "It seems Tony Blair has decided to live with the Dewar/Reid turf wars despite the damage they are doing to Scotland, rather than attempt to foist Brian Wilson back on the people of Scotland as Scottish secretary."

Dr Reid was promoted to the position of Scottish Secretary in May after Donald Dewar became First Minister in the new Scottish Parliament.

But media reports quickly homed in on apparent disagreements between the two Labour men.

They have continued - with the latest story telling of open hostility at the party conference in Bournemouth with Dr Reid accusing Mr Dewar of "betrayal" over his call for a public inquiry into his son Kevin's involvement in the lobbygate affair.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Video
BBC Scotland's Westminster Correspondent David Porter reports on the cabinet changes
Audio
BBC Scotland's Westminster Correspondent David Porter: "Dr Reid not getting defence was somewhat of a surprise"
Video
First Minister Donald Dewar: "I will not be put off by the sneers of the SNP"
See also:

10 May 99 | UK Politics
17 May 99 | UK Politics
11 Oct 99 | UK Politics
12 Oct 99 | UK Politics
11 Oct 99 | N Ireland
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