Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 19:27 UK

Murphy becomes Scottish Secretary

Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy was elected to parliament in 1997

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy has been appointed as the new Scottish Secretary.

Mr Murphy, 41, who was elected to parliament in 1997, succeeds Des Browne, who was also Defence Secretary.

News of his appointment has been welcomed by Jim Sheridan, the chair of the Scottish group of Labour MPs.

Mr Murphy said he was "very honoured to have a chance to serve in a UK cabinet as a full-time Secretary of State for Scotland".

He added: "I am delighted to be following Des Browne, he did two big jobs very, very well.

"But I think there is a lesson to be learned which is that Scotland is important, Scotland is crucial.

"It's right that Scotland has a full-time secretary of state and I'm delighted to have the confidence of the prime minister to get on with that job."

We welcome the fact that Scotland will once again have a full-time voice within the UK cabinet
Iain McMillan
CBI Scotland

It is understood that Des Browne, the MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon, was asked to stay on in Scotland and was also offered Northern Ireland. He is said to have turned down both.

But in a statement Mr Browne offered his full support to the Prime Minister and insisted that he had intended to step down from government next spring.

The defence brief is to be taken over by John Hutton, who was business secretary.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce welcomed Mr Murphy's appointment and that of Peter Mandelson as business secretary.

Its chief executive, Liz Cameron, said: "The appointment of Jim Murphy and Peter Mandelson to these key government roles is very important to businesses in Scotland.

"In the midst of challenging economic conditions, our firms are fighting hard to maintain their position and boost their competitive advantage on the global stage.

"It is vital that they are supported in this role by every level of government and by political leaders who understand the needs and ambitions of our business community."

'Widespread doubts'

She said the chambers would be looking for early dialogue with both ministers.

CBI Scotland's director, Iain McMillan, also welcomed Mr Murphy's appointment.

He said: "We look forward to working with him on the many issues which affect Scottish business that are the responsibility of the UK Government.

"We also welcome the fact that Scotland will once again have a full-time voice within the UK cabinet."

The Scottish Conservatives also said they were pleased that combining the roles of Defence and Scottish Secretaries had ended.

But David Mundell MP, the shadow Scottish Secretary said: "I believe that the fact that the two Scotland Office ministers have found themselves, in as many weeks, unable to continue in Gordon Brown's Government reflects the widespread doubts that exist even within the Labour Party about his leadership."




SEE ALSO
Murphy becomes Scottish Secretary
03 Oct 08 |  Scotland
Live text - Brown's reshuffle
03 Oct 08 |  UK Politics
Browne defends dual cabinet roles
29 Jun 07 |  Scotland

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