First minister Alex Salmond unveils enlarged cabinet

image captionAlex Salmond unveiled his new, enlarged Scottish government cabinet

First Minister Alex Salmond has announced a new, larger Scottish cabinet, in the wake of the SNP's landslide election victory.

All the members of the last cabinet have kept their jobs, while the promotion of three junior ministers brings its size to nine members.

Mr Salmond said his "strengthened" team would deliver on the priorities of the people of Scotland.

Frank Mulholland was named as the new lord advocate.

The QC, who takes over as head of the prosecution service, is to bring forward proposals to tackle sectarianism next week.

His previous job of solicitor general has been filled by Glasgow's senior procurator fiscal, Lesley Thomson.

The new cabinet sees Nicola Sturgeon remain deputy first minister and health secretary, with Mike Russell holding on to education, while Kenny MacAskill stays as justice secretary.

Richard Lochhead will continue as environment secretary.

John Swinney remains finance secretary, although his brief will take a focus on jobs, while Alex Neil has moved from being housing minister to a new infrastructure and capital investment role, to aid economic recovery.

Fiona Hyslop has retained responsibility for culture and external affairs, but her job has been moved from a junior ministerial position to cabinet status, as is the case for Bruce Crawford, who was named secretary for parliamentary business and government strategy.

The cabinet was announced after Mr Salmond, the SNP leader, was re-elected as first minister by MSPs and formally re-appointed to the role by the Queen.

The first minister, said: "The Scottish government secured re-election on the basis of a successful team, and I am delighted to appoint my colleagues to a strengthened cabinet team, delivering on the priorities of the people of Scotland."

Describing the law officers as "Scotland's tough new prosecution team", Mr Salmond added that Ms Thomson would be stepping up measures to seize the ill-gotten gains of criminals, for re-investment in community and other projects.

The Scottish government pointed out the size of the cabinets under Labour's Jack McConnell and Henry McLeish stood at 11, while the salaries of the new SNP cabinet will be frozen at 2008 levels.

Earlier, Mr Salmond's first appointment of the day was with judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

He received the Royal Warrant, signed by the Queen, before taking the official oath of allegiance, which confirmed him as first minister and Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland.

Junior ministers are being announced on Friday, with all appointments requiring parliamentary approval.

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