Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Scottish Labour's front bench team

Iain Gray - Scottish Labour leader
Iain Gray (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Iain Gray won the party leadership battle despite spending three years away from Holyrood, after losing his seat to the Conservatives in 2003.

The former cabinet minister - who is not from Labour's traditional west of Scotland stomping ground - took stewardship of the party at a difficult time for Labour and in the wake of his predecessor Wendy Alexander's controversial resignation.

Although his job is technically leader of the Labour Holyrood group, the East Lothian MSP quickly pointed out he was elected on a mandate which also included Scottish MPs, MEPs and affiliated unions.

Johann Lamont - Deputy Scottish Labour leader and communities
Johann Lamont (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Johann Lamont, during her time on Holyrood's front and back benches, 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 - who also has responsibility for housing, communities equalities and older people - previously served as chair of the Scottish Labour Party.

Richard Baker - Justice
Richard Baker (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Richard Baker, who strongly backed Iain Gray for the Scottish Labour leadership, won himself a major promotion to justice.

At the time, the portfolio area was slightly out of the North East Scotland MSP's comfort zone, having previously served as president of student union NUS Scotland and spoken on education issues.

Mr Baker, whose wife Claire is also a Labour MSP, also previously worked for the party as a researcher and as a press officer for the charity Help the Aged.

Jackie Baillie - Health
Jackie Baillie (Pic by Scottish Parliament)

Jackie Baillie took on the health role after having been thrust into the spotlight following several deaths at a hospital in her constituency.

A total of 55 people developed C.diff and 18 people died after the outbreak at the Vale of Leven in December 2007, prompting Ms Baillie to raise a series of questions about government and NHS policy on tackling hospital-acquired infections.

The MSP for Dumbarton, who was born in Hong Kong, formerly chaired the Scottish Labour Party and became social justice minister under the McLeish administration but found herself in the backbenches when Jack McConnell took charge, moving on to serve on a number of Holyrood committees.

Des McNulty - Education
Des McNulty

Des McNulty is an old steady hand at Holyrood, having been elected in 1999 and serving as a minister and Holyrood committee convener.

Before political life beckoned, Mr McNulty lectured in sociology and social sciences, before going on to take on a senior position at Glasgow Caledonian University in 1997.

The MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie convened Holyrood's finance committee for more than three years and also held the now-defunct post of deputy social justice minister, as well as serving on the Scottish Parliament's management team, the corporate body.

Andy Kerr - Finance and economy
Andy Kerr (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Andy Kerr is on familiar ground with his front bench post, having served as finance minister at Holyrood.

As health minister in the last government, he embarked upon radical reforms aimed at improving and modernising the health service, while tackling waiting lists and high-profile teething problems with the NHS 24-hour helpline service.

The MSP for East Kilbride, who stood against Mr Gray for the Scottish leadership, worked in local government before becoming an MSP and was previously a Holyrood committee convener.

Michael McMahon - Local government
Michael McMahon (Pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Michael McMahon has been an MSP since 1999, during which time he has pressed for legal reform, received death threats and rebelled against his masters.

During the abolition of the law banning the promotion of homosexuality in Scotland's schools, the former welder failed to gain government backing for his "marriage clause" to end "divisions" over scrapping the law.

The Hamilton North and Bellshill MSP has also campaigned to scrap the "not proven" verdict in court cases and abstained from a vote on ferry tendering which defeated the previous government. In his constituency, he has received death threats over plans for a psychiatric secure unit and demanded an inquiry into an apparent cluster of cancer deaths around his home.

Sarah Boyack - Environment and rural affairs
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. 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 long-standing interest in green matters and served as convener of the Scottish Parliament's environment and rural development committee.

Pauline McNeill - Culture and constitution
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.

It 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.

David Stewart - Chief whip
David Stewart (Pic by the Scottish Parliament)

David Stewart became a newly-elected MSP for Highlands and Islands in 2007, having previously failed to be re-elected as an MP.

Born and bred in the Highland capital, he used his time as MP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber to concentrate on issues like transport. He also campaigned for changes in regulations on behalf of IVF patient Margaret Grant, whose test-tube embryos were destroyed without her knowledge after her divorce.

The former social work professional, who supported the war in Iraq, lost out in the 2005 General Election to Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander, after Labour peer Lord Haskins gave £2,500 to the rival campaign.

Paul Martin - Parliament
Paul martin (pic by the Scottish Parliament)

Paul Martin came to public attention after raising questions over his party's policy on housing sex offenders, while it was in power.

The Springburn MSP's plea came after an eight-year-old local boy was murdered by a known sex offender in 2004.

Mr Martin, the son of former Commons speaker Lord Martin, has taken on the crucial role of speaking for Labour when it comes to deciding parliamentary business.



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