Scotland First Minister Henry McLeish resigns

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Scotland First Minister Henry McLeish resigned today in the row over his office expenses.

The move was announced to the Scottish Parliament at the start of a Tory–led debate over the issue.

In his resignation statement to the Parliament this afternoon, he said he took full responsibility for the expenses controversy which has been running for several months, but said that he had made "no personal gain".

He had in the past described it as "muddle rather than fiddle".

Mr McLeish had been under pressure from Opposition parties in Scotland to stand down after it emerged he received £36,000 from sub–letting his constituency office in Glenrothes, Fife, during his time as a Westminster MP.

The news was given to the Scottish Parliament by the parliament minister Tom McCabe, who said: "I would like to inform the chamber that the First Minister has this morning written to Her Majesty the Queen and yourself (Presiding Office Sir David Steel) indicating he intends to tender his resignation."

Scots Tory leader David McLetchie said outside the chamber: "Henry McLeish hasdone the right thing in tendering his resignation. I commend him on that.

"A line has been drawn and we must move on and focus in this parliament on issues of primary concern to the people of Scotland."

Asked if the First Minister had made the right decision, Labour's ParliamentMinister Paul McCabe said: "I think he made the right decision for himself."