McLeish elected as new First Minister

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Indy Politics

Henry McLeish was yesterday elected as Scotland's First Minister, beating off a challenge by the Scottish National Party comfortably.

Henry McLeish was yesterday elected as Scotland's First Minister, beating off a challenge by the Scottish National Party comfortably.

Donald Dewar's successor won 68 votes, while SNP leader John Swinney with 33 votes, followed by Tory leader David McLetchie with 19. The Scottish Parliament's only Independent MSP, Dennis Canavan, came fourth with three votes.

Mr McLeish was elected as Scottish Labour leader last week after Mr Dewar's funeral. He beat Jack McConnell, Scotland's Minister for Finance, by 44 votes to 36 in the party leadership contest. Mr McLeish said: "It is a day with, from my point of view, a sense of excitement, a sense of exhilaration. I feel emotion, and a deep sense of humility."

He also accepted a "deep sense of challenge" from the comments by the other party leaders. I want to provide a leadership that will unite the parliament," he said.

Jim Wallace, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader who has been acting First Minister, said: "It will be a daunting challenge to follow in the footsteps of Donald Dewar. Let us remember that Henry McLeish was one of the craftsmen of this Parliament."

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