Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 10:48 UK

Complaint on Gaelic role rebuffed

Alasdair Morrison
Alasdair Morrison was MSP for the Western Isles until 2007

A Scottish Government protest over the appointment of a former Labour MSP to head a Gaelic broadcasting body has been rebuffed by a Commons committee.

It complained after Alasdair Morrison was made chairman of MG Alba, formerly known as the Gaelic Media Service.

Culture minister Linda Fabiani had "serious concerns" the appointment was not politically impartial.

A spokesman said the committee for standards in public life said it could not act on the matter.

Independent panel

MG Alba is working with the BBC to launch a Gaelic language TV channel later this month.

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said Ms Fabiani was informed of the committee's response.

He said the concerns were over the decision-making process, which had been endorsed by the Scotland Office.

The spokesman said: "The secretary of the committee has said they can only inquire into appointments made by ministers.

"Given the fact that the Scotland Office are formally involved in the process of appointment, we find it hard to distinguish between what is and what is not a ministerial appointment on that basis."

He said the Scottish Government hoped to press the matter further with the committee.

The row over Mr Morrison's role broke out in July.

His appointment, which is for a four-year period, was approved by the UK Government's Scottish Secretary Des Browne.

The Scotland Office said no attempt was made by the UK government to influence the choice and said the selection process was transparent.

Mr Morrison also said the decision was taken by an independent panel of people who sit on the board for TV regulator Ofcom.

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