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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Browne defends dual cabinet roles
Des Browne
Mr Browne said no cabinet minister did the job on their own
UK Defence Secretary Des Browne has insisted he can carry out his ministerial duties effectively, after also being made Scottish Secretary.

He told BBC Scotland that he had thought "long and hard" about whether he would be able to take on the role.

The Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP added that he would be able to work well with Holyrood First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond said he looked forward to working with Mr Browne in the "best interests of Scotland".

"I am perfectly happy with the relationship that I will have with Alex Salmond," said the Scottish Secretary.

Mr Browne, who asked to be judged by the way in which he carried out his duties, said: "No cabinet minister does the job on their own.

I will work well with Alex Salmond, I work with politicians all across the world in my job as the Defence Secretary
Des Browne MP
Defence and Scottish secretary

He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Every minister in every department I have worked in, the ministers have worked as a team and the support of other ministers who are very competent and able people is important.

"I intend to ensure that in both departments I now have responsibility for that we will do that and that's the way in which I have worked up until now in the ministry of defence."

The majority of Scots, Mr Browne said, had voted for keeping the union.

He said his job was to be "Scotland's voice in the cabinet" while also acting as a conduit between the Scottish and UK governments, while making sure devolution worked for the people of Scotland.

He felt that while Scots political parties were still finding their feet following the establishment of Holy rood's first minority SNP administration, things would settle down and Scottish Labour would be "a very effective opposition".

"I will work well with Alex Salmond, I work with politicians all across the world in my job as the defence secretary and I am absolutely certain that I will be able to work with another Scottish politician," added the Scottish Secretary.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "The first minister wrote to the new Scottish Secretary to congratulate him on his appointment, and also did so by phone.

"They had a very cordial conversation, and the first minister looks forward to co-operating with Mr Browne in the best interests of Scotland."


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