Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hugh Brown

Hugh Brown, the former Scottish Office minister, has died aged 88. Tam Dalyell has a typically personal obituary in the Independent. There's also one by me in the Herald, another in the Daily Telegraph, and a belated couple in the Scotsman and the Guardian by Brian Wilson.

He served as Member of Parliament for Glasgow Provan from 1964 until he retired in 1987, and during the 1974-1979 Labour government he was one of several Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State for Scotland.

With the MP for Grimsby, Tony Crosland, he was a British negotiator with Iceland during the Cod War.

I interviewed Hugh in 2006 for a book on The Scottish Secretaries. He was charming and unassuming, and clearly enjoyed having been an MP and minister, but for all the right reasons.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Francis Pym dies

Lord Francis Pym, the former Northern Ireland, Defence and Foreign Secretary, died yesterday aged 86. Although his Cabinet career was not directly concerned with Scottish affairs, as Shadow Leader of the House from January 1976, Pym was also the Conservatives' devolution spokesman as the Scottish Assembly legislation made its way through the House of Commons.

As the Daily Telegraph obituary says: 'Pym stoutly led Tory opposition to the principle of devolution, claiming that the Bill was no more than “an attempt by the Labour Party to save seats they fear they would lose”.'

There are also obituaries in The Times, the Herald, the Guardian, the Independent and, belatedly, the Scotsman.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Barnett Formula review?

Interesting story in today's Daily Telegraph which implies that the UK Government is reviewing the controversial Barnett Formula, but then again might not be. You can read Alan Cochrane's analysis by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Alistair Carmichael resigns

BBC Online carries the news that the Lib Dems' Shadow Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, today quit his party's front bench in order to defy his whip and vote for a referendum on the EU Treaty. You can see him explain why by clicking here.

STOP PRESS: Michael Moore, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has been appointed Scottish spokesman in place of Carmichael.