Scotland

Former First Minister Jack McConnell becomes a peer

Jack McConnell
Image caption The former first minister has been made a life peer

The former first minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell, has been made a life peer.

Other Scots to receive peerages in the dissolution honours list included former Home Secretary John Reid and Des Browne, the former defence and Scottish secretary.

Fellow former Labour MPs Helen Liddell, John McFall and Tommy McAvoy were also ennobled.

They were among more than 50 senior figures elevated to the House of Lords by Downing Street.

Mr McConnell said he was "delighted" to have been appointed to the House of Lords.

He pledged he would "balance" his new role there with his work as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr McConnell, who stood down as Scottish Labour leader after his party lost the 2007 Holyrood election to the SNP, said his peerage would be a "fresh challenge".

He added: "My experience and understanding of devolution, coalition government, international development and peace building will prove useful in the House of Lords and I will do what I can there, standing up for Scotland but helping shape Britain too."

The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP also vowed: "My first priority continues to be my constituency in the Scottish Parliament and I will balance my roles in both institutions, just as Lord Steel and others have done before me."

Prior to becoming first minister, Mr McConnell served as education minister and finance minister in the then-Scottish Executive.

He was appointed as the Prime Minister's Special Representative for Peacebuilding in October 2008.

The announcement of Mr McConnell's life peerage was welcomed by Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, who said it was "well-deserved and appropriate recognition".

He added: "Jack is Scotland's longest serving first minister and he ensured we were the first part of the UK to implement the smoking ban.

"Other of his key achievements include the Fresh Talent initiative, Project Scotland and the historic co-operation agreement between Scotland and Malawi."

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