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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Labour front bench at-a-glance
Wendy Alexander - Scottish Labour leader

Wendy Alexander (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Wendy Alexander formally took up the role of leading her party after she was elected unopposed to the job.

The Paisley North MSP, who was close to the late Donald Dewar, previously served as minister for enterprise, transport and lifelong learning at the same time, but later quit the cabinet.

Never one to shirk tough situations, Ms Alexander, whose brother Douglas is the UK international development secretary, was also handed the political responsibility for abolishing the controversial law banning the promotion of homosexuality in Scotland's schools.

Cathy Jamieson - Deputy Scottish Labour leader

Cathy Jamieson

Cathy Jamieson, Labour parliamentary business spokeswoman, has taken temporarily taken the party reins following Jack McConnell's resignation.

As the previous justice minister she presided over high-profile pushes to stamp out anti-social behaviour, remove drug dealers from communities and tackle Scotland's so called "booze and blades" culture.

The Carrick, Cumnock and Doon valley MSP was previously a social worker and holds a degree in fine art.

Andy Kerr - Health

Andy Kerr (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

As health minister in the last government, Andy Kerr embarked upon radical reforms aimed at improving and modernising the health service.

He also had to tackle the issue of waiting lists - a favourite subject of the SNP in opposition - as well as problems with the NHS 24 helpline service.

The MSP for East Kilbride, who worked in local government before becoming an MSP, also served as finance minister and was previously a Holyrood committee convener.

Margaret Curran - Justice

Margaret Curran (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Margaret Curran has acquired a reputation as a feared political opponent - but on occasion also shows a humorous side.

Her no-nonsense style stood her in good stead during her time as minister for parliamentary business, having to deal with opposition parties and the occasional Labour rebel and, as communities minister, oversaw the then Scottish Executive's flagship anti-social behaviour laws.

Ms Curran, MSP for Glasgow Baillieston, was previously a community worker and lecturer and is said to be a fan of the BBC television drama EastEnders.

Hugh Henry - Education

Hugh Henry (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Hugh Henry became education minister in November 2006, but was better known in his role as deputy justice minister.

Mr Henry, MSP for Paisley South, served in the job for four years, notably leading the successful drive to reform compensation rights for the victims of mesothelioma, also known as asbestosis.

Before embarking on a career in politics, the former West Renfrewshire Council leader worked as an accountant, teacher, welfare rights officer and community care co-ordinator.

Rhona Brankin - Rural affairs and environment

Rhona Brankin (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Rhona Brankin, MSP for Midlothian, is seldom short of a cutting remark for her opponents - both in and out of government.

The former deputy environment minister refused in 2001 to pay short-term compensation to Scots fishermen - even though her effigy was burned at a protest - and more recently branded the new Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead's first parliamentary statement "wishy-washy" and "a complete cop-out".

Ms Brankin, a former teacher, education lecturer and chair of the Scottish Labour Party, took some heat as deputy health minister when she accused a Stranraer dentist who moved 1,000 of his patients out of the NHS of staging a political stunt - a comment he denied and sought legal advice over.

Patricia Ferguson - Europe and culture

Patricia Ferguson

Patricia Ferguson continues in the new parliament on familiar ground, having previously served as culture minister.

The Glasgow Maryhill MSP also previously served as one of Holyrood's deputy presiding officers as well as minister for parliament.

Ms Ferguson, who married Labour MSP Bill Butler, has a history of working as an organiser for the Scottish Labour Party.

Iain Gray - Enterprise, energy and tourism

Iain Gray (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Iain Gray quickly picked up a Labour frontbench role soon after his return to parliament, following several years in the Holyrood wilderness.

Mr Gray, who served in several ministerial posts in the past, lost his Edinburgh Pentlands seat to Conservative David McLetchie in 2003, but following the 2007 election, is now MSP for East Lothian.

He trained as a physics teacher, worked in the voluntary sector and was campaign manager for the charity Oxfam.

Des McNulty - Transport, infrastructure and climate change

Des McNulty (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Des McNulty was responsible for calling the last Scottish Executive to account as convener of the Scottish Parliament finance committee.

He briefly saw ministerial office before the election as deputy communities minister, a post he previously held and was given in the reshuffle triggered by Peter Peacock's resignation as education minister towards the end of 2006.

The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie previously worked as a sociology lecturer and as a councillor in Strathclyde and Glasgow.

Ken Macintosh - Schools and skills

Ken Macintosh (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Ken Macintosh is known for putting service to the people high on his MSP's list of priorities.

The Eastwood MSP resigned as a ministerial aide after voting against the previous Scottish Executive over plans for a shake-up of Glasgow hospitals and has also spoken up for fingerprint officers involved in the Shirley McKee case, who were his constituents.

Mr Macintosh, a history graduate, worked as a BBC network news producer before entering Holyrood in 1999.

Pauline McNeill - Children and early years

Pauline McNeill (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Pauline McNeill came to the fore in the last parliament in the demanding role of convener of the Scottish Parliament's Justice 1 Committee.

The cross-party group provided essential scrutiny on several important pieces of legislation, including laws to improve child protection, and carried out an inquiry into the Shirley McKie fingerprint affair.

The MSP for Glasgow Kelvin is a former union worker and president of the National Union of Students in Scotland and is a keen champion of Scotland's contemporary music scene.

Lewis Macdonald - Public health

Lewis Macdonald (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Lewis Macdonald, MSP for Aberdeen Central, dealt with several hot political issues during his time as deputy health minister.

He was at the forefront of the drive to "fill in the gaps" in NHS dentistry and also had to contend with free personal care for the elderly amid claims from a number of councils that they were struggling to meet the costs of the policy.

Mr Macdonald, who has served in several ministerial posts, has been a Labour Party member since the 1980s and is a former Aberdeen University history lecturer.

Johann Lamont - Communities and sport

Johann Lamont (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Johann Lamont, during her time on Holyrood's front and backbenches, has been a strong voice on violence against women and inequality.

As deputy communities minister, she expressed concern over a Scottish Parliament report in 2005 that Gypsy travellers were experiencing extreme levels of discrimination and, later, as deputy justice minister, saw through reforms to speed up Scotland's lower court system.

The former history teacher and MSP for Glasgow Pollok - a key figure in raising concerns about youth disorder - also served as chair of the Scottish Labour Party.

Paul Martin - Community safety

Paul martin (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Paul Martin's community safety role fits in with his long-standing calls to better serve communities where sex offenders are living.

He voiced in parliament the concerns of Margaret Ann Cummings that parents should be given greater information after her eight-year-old son Mark was killed by a known sex offender in Mr Martin's Glasgow Springburn constituency.

Mr Martin, a former councillor whose father Michael is the speaker of the House of Commons, also played a prominent role in raising the issue of anti-social behaviour and, being a keen music fan, plays the keyboard.

Sarah Boyack - Environment

Sarah Boyack (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Sarah Boyack, MSP for Edinburgh Central, has served in several ministerial jobs, latterly as deputy environment minister.

As transport minister - the job she lost when Jack McConnell became first minister - she had to suspend tolls on the Erskine Bridge in 2001 after a Scottish Executive error failed to extend the tolling order and she also comfortably survived an SNP-instigated vote of no confidence over the awarding of road maintenance contracts to private firms.

Ms Boyack, who previously worked in and later lectured on planning, has held a longstanding interest on green matters and served as convener of the Scottish Parliament's environment and rural development committee.


SEE ALSO
Cabinet and ministers at-a-glance
25 May 07 |  Scotland
Tory front bench at-a-glance
09 Jun 07 |  Scotland
Lib Dem front bench at-a-glance
17 Aug 07 |  Scotland
Political news from Scotland
29 Aug 07 |  Scotland

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