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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Tories appoint new Scottish chairman
Iain Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy arrive at Conservative Central Office
Iain Duncan Smith won the Tory leadership race
The Conservative Party in Scotland has appointed David Mitchell as its new chairman.

The businessman was formerly Scottish party treasurer.

Mr Mitchell has been treasurer of the Scottish party for three years, and is also a former president of the Scottish party.

Earlier it was announced that Jacqui Lait is to be the Tory Shadow Scottish Secretary.

Jacqui Lait
Jacqui Lait: Shadow Scottish Secretary
The 53-year-old MP for the London seat of Beckenham was born in Glasgow and educated at Paisley Grammar School and Strathclyde University.

The party in Scotland and the new leader Iain Duncan Smith agreed the appointments on Friday.

Mr Mitchell has little public profile, and the appointment suggests the new leader sees the Scottish chairmanship as more of a behind-the-scenes role.

It is thought Mr Mitchell will be less publicly political than his predecessor Raymond Robertson.

Mr Robertson has welcomed the appointment and said that Mr Mitchell has his wholehearted support.

Business background

A former chairman of Cumbernauld New Town Development Corporation, Mr Mitchell is a former member of the CBI's Scottish Council and has a business background in the timber industry.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "The party under Raymond Robertson made great strides forward after our defeat in 1997 and we must now pick up the challenge and win more seats in the Scottish Parliament, Westminster, Europe and our local councils."

He added: "It is vital the party in Scotland now comes together and acts as one strong united force to fight the forthcoming Scottish and local elections.

"When we are united and determined we can win and will beat Labour, the Scottish National Party and the Liberals at every level.


It is vital the party in Scotland now comes together and acts as one strong united force to fight the forthcoming Scottish and local elections.

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith
"A line must now be drawn by the party in Scotland and everyone put their efforts purely into political success."

And Mr Duncan Smith hailed two local council by-election victories in Scotland on Thursday as evidence of a revival in Tory fortunes.

He said the gains, from the Liberal Democrats in Aberdeenshire and from Labour in Dumfries and Galloway, were a trend to be built on.

Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie denied the appointment of Ms Lait as Shadow Scottish Secretary was a snub to Peter Duncan, MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, who is the sole Tory MP in Scotland.

Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie
David McLetchie: "Learning curve"
"Peter Duncan has only been in the House of Commons for a few weeks and he will be the first to acknowledge he is on a learning curve," Mr McLetchie told BBC Radio Scotland.

"He will be working with Jacqui as our Scottish affairs team in the House of Commons.

"This appointment demonstrates the importance Iain Duncan Smith attaches to Scotland.

"He is putting together a team in the House of Commons to concentrate specifically on Scottish affairs and to support me and my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament as we look ahead to the elections in 2003."

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Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie
"We all have to remember that we are Conservatives"
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