Scottish Government Ministerial Changes

First Minister Alex Salmond has today announced changes to the Scottish Government's Ministerial team.

Michael Russell, who piloted the White Paper on the constitution and Referendum Bill to publication yesterday, becomes the new Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in succession to Fiona Hyslop who replaces Mr Russell as Minister for Culture and External Affairs in attendance at the Cabinet.

The FM will take on responsibility for the constitution and the Referendum Bill to be introduced early in the New Year.

Mr Salmond said: "Schools policy has reached a difficult period with our disagreement with many local authorities about their failure to reduce class sizes by sustaining teacher numbers, while we have achieved a new record low in primary school class sizes.

"It is appropriate that a fresh look is taken at this and other schooling issues to break the impasse for the benefit of parents, teachers and children. I believe that Michael Russell can bring new thinking to this tough task.

"Fiona Hyslop will do an excellent job as Minister for Culture and External Affairs, and will take responsibility for the Joint Ministerial Committees and for liaison with the Westminster Government and with Europe. There are key issues arising regarding changes in the terms of the JMC arrangements, and Fiona Hyslop will seek to secure a better deal for Scotland."

The First Minister will take responsibility for the constitution, signifying the seriousness of the Scottish Government's attempt to gather support for a Referendum Bill in order to allow the people the opportunity to take Scotland forward by extending the responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Hyslop will attend a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (Europe) in London this afternoon.


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