McLeish moves exam fiasco minister as he names new Scottish cabinet

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Scotland's newly elected First Minister announced his cabinet yesterday, replacing the minister who presided over the school exam results fiasco in the summer.

Scotland's newly elected First Minister announced his cabinet yesterday, replacing the minister who presided over the school exam results fiasco in the summer.

Henry McLeish moved Sam Galbraith from education to environment and replaced him with a former rival for First Minister, Jack McConnell. Mr McConnell was reportedly keen to stay in his previous job as Minister for Finance but said yesterday that he would aim to work with teachers and parents to restore the reputation of the Scottish education system.

In the summer, thousands of incorrect Higher and Standard grade results were sent out by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Mr Galbraith faced calls to resign as Minister for Children and Education over his handling of the affair, and the Scottish Executive announced an inquiry.

Mr McLeish's previous job of Minister for Enterprise and Life-Long Learning is taken by Wendy Alexander, the former Minister for Communities, who also ran for first minister. Her job goes to Jackie Bailie in the reshuffle, while Mr McConnell is replaced as Minister for Finance by Angus MacKay.

Jim Wallace, the Scottish Liberal Democrats' leader, will remain as Deputy First Minister and Minister for Justice.

Mr McLeish denied suggestions that his new cabinet was preparing to drop the legacy of Donald Dewar, who died earlier this month and had always made social justice a priority.

"There is a rich legacy to be taken forward and indeed what I have done today is to set up a special cabinet post which deals exclusively with social justice," he said.

"We have listened to Donald, we know what he would have wanted, and have taken action to ensure that social justice is at the very highest point of my agenda."

But David McLetchie, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, and the Scottish National Party leader, John Swinney, were already criticising the cabinet. Mr McLetchie, said: "Pre-devolution we had five ministers running the Scottish Office. We are now up to 23 and it is about time government in Scotland was cut down to size. There are too many ministers doing too little."

Mr Swinney said: "There are deep-seated problems in the Executive. Henry McLeish has been talking about them for the best part of the last 10 days, and the solution has been to make none of his cabinet colleagues redundant. I think that is just an unbelievable stance for Henry McLeish to adopt."

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