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EX LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER RESIGNS FROM CABINET

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Wendy Alexander, minister for enterprise, transport and lifelong learning, has tendered her resignation from the Sc...
Wendy Alexander, minister for enterprise, transport and lifelong learning, has tendered her resignation from the Scottish cabinet.

First minister Jack McConnell has accepted her resignation while expressing regret at her decision and thanking her for the significant contribution she has made. He made clear his commitment to driving forward with the Smart, Successful Scotland economic strategy will remain central to the executive's vision for Scotland.

Ms Alexander says she made her decision at the turn of the year but stayed on to see through delivery of the transport strategy. She says she has been proud to serve in the cabinet and intends to stay on in parliament as MSP for Paisley North.

The text of the exchange of letters is carried below.

Letter from first minister to Wendy Alexander:

Dear Wendy:

I was very sorry to receive your letter of resignation as Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning.

We have worked together for over 20 years and over that time your commitment to achieving real and positive change in the lives of people across Scotland and elsewhere has been one that we have shared. As a Minister in this Cabinet from the outset, you have brought that commitment and expertise to our collective work and I am indeed grateful to you for the consistent energy you have given to every task you have undertaken.

In your recent responsibilities you have successfully driven our forward-looking transport and economic strategy. I want to assure you and those in the business, transport and learning communities with whom you have worked, of my personal commitment to continuing to develop and consolidate the relationships which have been forged there. Together with your cabinet colleagues we will continue to drive forward our strategy for a Smart, Successful Scotland which is central to our vision for this country and the prospects of the people we represent.

I understand the pressures of political life and the demands it makes of all of us. Whilst I regret your decision to resign I understand too, your wish to take a well deserved break from those pressures and I accept the your resignation.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in the Parliament and offer you my very best wishes for the future.

Yours Jack

Letter from Wendy Alexander to first minister Jack McConnell:

Dear Jack,

It was five years ago this weekend that, on his appointment to Government, I went to work with Donald Dewar in the Scottish Office. During the five hectic years since Labour in the UK, and in Scotland, with our coalition partners, has achieved much of which we can be proud.

I am privileged to have been a member of the Cabinet since the creation of the Scottish Parliament, now so firmly established.

I now however, feel the time is right for me to stand down from Ministerial office and ask you to accept my resignation from the Scottish Cabinet. In so doing, I am acting on a decision that I took at the turn of the year, but I was committed to first fulfilling the task you asked of me in preparing the new transport strategy and I was also determined to avoid adding unnecessary pressures on colleagues in your Administration's early months.

Over three years and with three diverse portfolios, I am proud to have played a part, working with colleagues, in creating a new economic strategy for Scotland, advances in social justice, new beginnings in housing, a vision for lifelong learning and a new transport strategy for the coming decade.

I have no intention of leaving politics or the Parliament and my enthusiasm for the Parliament remains as strong as it was, over 20 years ago, when we campaigned together for its creation. I intend to continue to work to develop a vision of a Scotland that can banish poverty, whilst enhancing growth and prosperity.

It is an honour to represent the people of my Paisley North constituency and I hope to win their support again at the election for the Scottish Parliament in 2003. Meanwhile, I will continue to work hard in the interests of the Labour Party as I have always done.

With you, I share a conviction that pride in Scotland should not be about any narrow nationalism but about a sense of nationhood, rooted in the values for which our Party stands. I look forward to continuing supporting you and the Executive in the times ahead.

Yours sincerely

Wendy Alexander MSP

Biography

Wendy Alexander was born in Glasgow and educated at Park Mains High School, Erskine, and Pearson College, Canada. She holds a first class honours degree in Modern and Economic History from Glasgow University, a Masters with Distinction from Warwick University and an MBA from INSEAD, France.

Prior to entering politics she was a consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton in their consumer goods practice working with global companies on assignments in Europe, America, Asia and Australasia.

In 1997, following Labour's election victory, Ms Alexander was appointed special adviser to the late Donald Dewar, the then secretary of state for Scotland. She was closely involved in drafting all aspects of the white paper that led to the establishment of the Scottish parliament and the preparations for the parliament.

In May 1999 Ms Alexander was elected to represent Paisley North in the Scottish parliament and she was appointed minister for communities with responsibility for housing, social justice, local government, the voluntary sector and equal opportunities.

Since October 2000, as minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, she has had responsibility for economy, business and industry including Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Island Enterprise, trade and inward investment, further and higher education, the science base and e-commerce, lifelong learning and training. In November 2001, transport was added to her brief.

Ms Alexander has also worked as a research officer for the Labour Party and is a member of RSPB, the TGWU and Amnesty International. In 2000, she was Channel 4's Scottish Politician of the Year. Publications, include 'First Ladies of Medicine' (1986) and contributions to 'The World is Ill Divided: Women's Work in Scotland'(1992), 'The State and the Nations' (1996), 'The Ethnicity Reader' (1997) and 'New Gender Agenda' (2000).

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