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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Legal official loses Cabinet seat
Alex Salmond and Elish Angiolini  (Pic by Ciaran Donnelly)
Elish Angiolini was present when Mr Salmond took the oath
Scotland's top law officer has lost her seat at the Scottish Cabinet table.

The new SNP government has decided to stop inviting Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini to the weekly meeting of senior ministers.

First Minister Alex Salmond told BBC Scotland he wanted law officers who were "independent of politics".

The move emerged after Mr Salmond's Cabinet secretaries were formally sworn in to office at the Court of Session, before the new Cabinet's first meeting.

Under UK law, the Lord Advocate remains a member of the Scottish government and its legal adviser, as well as Scotland's chief prosecutor.

The Lord Advocate normally attends the weekly Cabinet meeting, but Mr Salmond said he wanted law officers to establish "independence from the political process".

That will mean Ms Angiolini and her successors will no longer be invited to Cabinet meetings and other political discussions.

Cabinet being sworn in
Cabinet was sworn in at the Court of Session

Earlier, Mr Salmond's new Cabinet secretaries, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney, Fiona Hyslop, Kenny MacAskill and Richard Lochhead all took the oath of office in front of senior judges.

The first minister, who was sworn in earlier, has rescheduled the weekly Cabinet meeting from a Wednesday morning to a Tuesday afternoon.

The five secretaries will each preside over their own departments and ministers.

Ms Sturgeon, the SNP's deputy leader, is deputy first minister and health secretary.

Mr Swinney is secretary for finance, Ms Hyslop handles education and lifelong learning, Mr MacAskill has been handed the justice brief and Mr Lochhead oversees rural affairs and the environment.


SEE ALSO
Salmond announces his new cabinet
16 May 07 |  Scotland

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