Reid given top Scottish job in Cabinet mini-reshuffle

20 May 99
The role of negotiating grants to the new Scottish assembly has been given to John Reid, who impressed Number 10 when transport minister by facing down protesting lorry-drivers angered by increases in fuel duties.

21 May 1999

As Scottish Secretary, Reid, MP for Hamilton North and Belshill, will have a close bilateral relationship with the new first minister in the Scottish Parliament, Donald Dewar, who this week named his executive.

Among the appointments, two former Scottish Office ministers, Sam Galbraith and Henry McLeish, become Scottish ministers; the key job of Scottish finance minister goes to Jack McConnell, former general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party – a move that prompted the Scottish Nationalists to complain about 'rewards for apparatchiks'.

Commentators interpreted Reid's appointment as a snub to Helen Liddell, former deputy to Donald Dewar at the Scottish Office. She moves to replace Reid at transport.

The recent death of Foreign Office minister Derek Fatchett precipitated a mini-reshuffle, which saw Blairite Geoff Hoon promoted into the vacant job under Robin Cook. His place at the Lord Chancellor's side was taken by Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, a prominent spokesman for Britain's Asian communities and now the country's first Asian minister.


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