New Labour leader gives key role to defeated rival

NEW Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont today unveiled her shadow cabinet with a key role for her defeated rival.

Ken Macintosh, who was Ms Lamont’s main challenger, is appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, taking on the SNP’s John Swinney.

Ms Lamont announced her team this morning following her victory on Saturday in the contest to succeed Iain Gray. She emerged with 51.77 per cent of the votes to Mr Macintosh’s 40.28 per cent and 7.95 per cent for MP Tom Harris. The new shadow cabinet was holding its first meeting today.

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But Ms Lamont said she would make further appointments over the coming weeks from outside the world of politics to bring specialist advice in their areas of expertise to shadow cabinet discussions.

Senior former minister Hugh Henry returns to the front bench as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

Lewis Macdonald, defeated in his bid for the deputy leadership, is given the justice portfolio, shadowing Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack is made Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Planning.

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Her old portfolio of rural affairs and the environment goes to Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker. Jackie Baillie continues to shadow the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy.

Former finance spokesman Richard Baker becomes Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment,

Patricia Ferguson continues as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and adds the Commonwealth Games to her title.

Paul Martin continues as business manager and James Kelly is named chief whip.

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Ms Lamont said: “My shadow cabinet will be inclusive, bringing together experienced former ministers and newer voices to speak on the important issues for Scotland.

“Our job will not just be to hold the Scottish Government to account, but to show our party’s ambition again.

“Together we must set out and convince the people of Scotland of Labour’s vision for our country.

“My shadow cabinet will comprise elected politicians and also experts in their fields from all walks of life to advise, share experience and help shape the future of our country. I will make more appointments in the coming weeks and months.”

MP Anas Sarwar. won the deputy leadership contest on Saturday with 51.1 per cent to 33.28 per cent for fellow MP Ian Davidson and 15.62 per cent for Lewis Macdonald.