Helen Liddell in the Press

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Liddell denies 'fall-out' claim

New Secretary of State for Scotland Helen Liddell has side-stepped questions about a fall-out with the Scottish Executive.

Facing her first Scottish Questions at Westminster, Mrs Liddell ignored claims she was "kept in the dark" over personal care for the elderly.

First Minister Henry McLeish had previously pledged to fund personal care for all Scotland's old age pensioners, but it took a u-turn in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday for the Scottish Executive to agree.

Former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond used Scottish Questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday to ask if Mrs Liddell had been kept fully informed.

Referring to a statement made on BBC's Today programme on Monday, Mr Salmond said Mrs Liddell claimed the Scottish Executive was still considering the matter.

Mrs Liddell, however, attacked Mr Salmond's decision to return to Westminster politics, saying the success of the devolution settlement was in sharp contrast to the separatist politics of the nationalists.

She said: "Edinburgh isn't big enough for the honourable gentleman.

"On matters of personal care, on matters of the Sutherland Report, it is a sign of strength of the devolution settlement that this government has a parliament with the will of the people.

"In relation to what I said yesterday on the Today programme, he will be hearing from the executive on their arrangements soon."