[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 20:42 GMT
McConnell backs justice minister
Jack McConnell and Cathy Jamieson
Cathy Jamieson says the cash was for her nephew's son
First Minister Jack McConnell has declared his "total support" for his justice minister after she denied helping her nephew evade the law.

Cathy Jamieson paid 100 into the bank account of Derek Hyslop in July 1999.

The Labour MSP insisted that the money was to buy clothes for his newborn son and that she did not know he was on the run at the time.

She also said that Hyslop, who was later jailed for manslaughter, tried to blackmail her from prison.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Ms Jamieson said that the minister "doesn't walk away from problems - especially where those involve relatives within her own family".

She (Ms Jamieson) vehemently denies ever having offered any assistance - financial or otherwise - to help this individual evade responsibility for his actions
Cathy Jamieson statement
Hyslop was said to have had a long and troubled past - including problems of both substance misuse and crime.

The statement said: "As a relative she (Ms Jamieson) has been active since his childhood in trying to help him deal with those problems - and in facing up to his responsibilities.

"Like most concerned and caring relatives this has included intermittent financial help along the way."

Ms Jamieson transferred the 100 to her nephew's bank account shortly after the birth of his first child, a boy.

'Profoundly sad'

The minister's statement added: "She (Ms Jamieson) vehemently denies ever having offered any assistance - financial or otherwise - to help this individual evade responsibility for his actions or to escape justice."

The statement added: "Sadly, as many relatives will know, desperate people will resort to saying desperate things for money.

"This appears to be one such occasion. It is one that she and her family are profoundly sad to hear about."

Hyslop was eventually jailed for manslaughter after killing a woman in a street robbery in Derby.

While it is entirely a personal matter for her and her family, she has my total support
Jack McConnell
First Minister

Ms Jamieson told the Daily Record newspaper that he tried to blackmail her from prison in 2001 by threatening to tell his story to the press.

Strathclyde Police said on Wednesday that she had reported receiving a Christmas card with a note containing an apparent threat.

The force said it was currently investigating a report, received on Monday, that someone had attempted to induce a Scottish Executive official to disclose private information about the justice minister.

Assistant Chief Constable John Corrigan said: "In relation to the allegation relating to the receipt of a threatening note with a Christmas card, following the investigation, a further discussion took place with Ms Jamieson.

"It was decided that in all the circumstances prevailing at that time, the matter would be concluded without any further formal action.

"An investigation into the incident reported to Strathclyde Police on Monday 21 February continues. A senior officer has been appointed to review all the information available."

'Personal matter'

Mr McConnell said Ms Jamieson had told him of her nephew around the time she was first appointed to his cabinet in late 2001.

"She made me aware of the behaviour of this individual before it came into the public domain," he said.

"While it is entirely a personal matter for her and her family, she has my total support."

Parliament Minister Margaret Curran also stated her backing for her colleague, saying: "Cathy Jamieson is a very well respected member of the executive and has the full support of all her colleagues and friends."


SEE ALSO:
Minister resists resignation call
05 May 04 |  Scotland
Jamieson wins top-level support
14 Apr 04 |  Scotland
McConnell's cabinet: At-a-glance
20 May 03 |  Scotland


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific