Scotland Secretary: abilities go beyond his mere Scottishness

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While Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander enjoyed meteoric rises to cabinet rank, Michael Moore did it the hard way. The self-effacing MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk reached Parliament eight years before his more noteworthy colleagues – inheriting David Steel's seat – and it has taken him 13 years to make it to the exalted post of Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr Moore is the son of a Church of Scotland minister, born in Northern Ireland, where his father was serving as a chaplain in the British Army. The family settled in Scotland, where the young Michael had his first experience of politics with the SDP, then the Liberals and ultimately the Lib Dems. He worked for Lord Steel and Lib Dem colleague Archy Kirkwood before eventually becoming an MP himself.

Like many young Lib Dem MPs, he was promoted quickly, becoming a spokesman on Scottish affairs and, under successive leaders, fulfilling a list of shadow portfolios. Mr Moore is also deputy leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, but his abilities go beyond his mere Scottishness. He was campaign chairman for the 1999 and 2003 Scottish Parliament elections and a key figure in drawing up the Lib-Lab coalition agreement for Scotland.

Mr Moore, 45 on Thursday, read politics and modern history at Edinburgh, later joining Coopers & Lybrand. He married his wife Alison in 2004.