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First Minister of Scotland

From Academic Kids

Template:PoliticsScotland The First Minister (Prýomh Mhinistear in Scots Gaelic) is the leader of Scotland's national home rule government, the Scottish Executive, which was established in 1999 along with the reconstituted Scottish Parliament.

The Executive is presided over by the First Minister, who is selected in a vote of the Scottish Parliament (PÓrlamaid na h-Alba) and then appointed by the Queen.

The inaugural First Minister, Donald Dewar is seen very much as the Father of the Nation. During his time as Secretary of State for Scotland, his actions and campaigning were instrumental in securing Scottish devolution. His brief term in the office he had helped create ended abruptly when he died of a brain haemorrhage.

He was replaced by Henry McLeish who also served in the position only very briefly being forced to resign after a scandal involving his expense claim whilst a Westminster MP. McLeish denied any intentional wrongdoing, claiming it was a "muddle, rather than a fiddle", but significant pressure was brought to bear upon him and he felt he had no option other than to resign which he did in 2001.

McLeish's replacement was Jack McConnell who had stood unsuccessfully against McLeish for leadership of the Scottish Labour Party, which would have effectively guaranteed his confirmation as First Minister then. McConnell said his style of leadership would be characterised by the Scottish Executive attempting to "do less, but do it better".

Despite the nature of McLeish's departure from office, many commentators compare his period as First Minister in a more favourable light than the current incumbent, McConnell. They claim that McLeish had a far more ambitious and independent (of Westminster) style of government than McConnell, citing his success in passing legislation that introduced free personal care for the elderly, and the way in which he sought a more distinctive Scottish voice in the world as evidence for this.

Bute House in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square is the official residence of the First Minister.

The First Minister is Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, and his place in the order of precedence in Scotland is determined by that office.

First Ministers of Scotland

Deputy First Ministers of Scotland

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