Jack McConnell: “I’m joining the historic British establishment”

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Labour MSP Jack McConnell has indicated he will not stand down as an MSP despite being the latest Scottish Labour politician to be given a seat in the House of Lords.

The former First Minister, who lost out to Alex Salmond in the 2007 Holyrood election, insisted that he has “no plans” to step down from his Holyrood seat and expects to stand again at the next election.


Labour MSP Jack McConnell has indicated he will not stand down as an MSP despite being the latest Scottish Labour politician to be given a seat in the House of Lords.

The former First Minister, who lost out to Alex Salmond in the 2007 Holyrood election, insisted that he has “no plans” to step down from his Holyrood seat and expects to stand again at the next election.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP, who once described the constituency as a “pigsty”, will join a host of other Scottish Labour politicians including fellow MSP George Foulkes in the unelected chamber.

He will now be able to claim considerable tax free benefits on top of his MSP’s salary and will be known as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.

Mr McConnell spoke of his pride at joining what he called “the historic British establishment” and pledged to speak up for “vulnerable children at home and abroad” and pursue “international development and peace-building”.

McConnell was one of many Scottish Labour politicians rewarded with a peerage by Gordon Brown in last month’s dissolution Honours List following Labour’s General Election loss.

McConnell was introduced to the Lords by Baroness Smith, widow of former Labour leader John Smith, and another Scots Labour peer, Baroness Meta Ramsay.

He insisted his additional role would not interfere with his current duties as an MSP.

Opponents have argued that Mr McConnell should step down as an MSP claiming that it went against the spirit of the Kelly recommendations which had called for the phasing out of so called dual mandates by 2011.

SNP MSP for Central Scotland Christina McKelvie has called on Mr McConnell to confirm that he will not stand as a candidate in forthcoming Holyrood election.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie said:

“Jack McConnell’s constituents in Motherwell and Wishaw don’t know if their MSP is coming or going. first, he was to be made High Commissioner of Malawi, and now he’s off to the Lords!

“Jack McConnell’s decision to remain at Holyrood whilst enjoying all the perks of a peerage goes against the spirit of the Kelly recommendations, and he should confirm his intentions for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election immediately.”

Meanwhile:
Labour ex-ministers have been criticised after it emerged they spent £72,000 on a Whitehall ‘tranquility room’ while Britain was in recession.

The two-storey meeting room was constructed as part of a major refit at offices shared by Harriet Harman’s government equalities office and John Denham’s communities department.

The £72,614 pod was part of a £2.4 million refit, intended to bring about efficiencies for the government.

The current communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said:
“While Britain was gripped in recession, public debt was going through the roof and thousands of private sector workers were losing their jobs, Labour Ministers were literally feathering their nest using public cash, and splashing out on luxury accommodation for officials.

“Taxpayers will be outraged at the cost and excess of Harriet Harman’s Serene Green Tranquility Room.”