Three ministers take on Scottish and Welsh roles

MPs reacted angrily yesterday to the abolition of the Scottish and Welsh offices and the news that responsibility for Wales and Scotland would be divided between three cabinet ministers.

Tony Blair transferred the departments' responsibilities and staff to Lord Falconer, the new Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. But in a late move last night, the Prime Minister also bestowed the titles of Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Wales on the Secretary of State for Transport and Leader of the House of Commons.

Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, said the reshuffle amounted to a "dog's breakfast". He said: "It is utterly extraordinary that an unelected peer will have cabinet responsibility for Scotland."

Downing Street tried to play down confusion last night over who would take primary responsibility for Scotland and Wales in the Cabinet. It said "responsibility for the conduct of Scottish and Welsh business" would lie with Alistair Darling and Peter Hain.

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