Helen Liddell in the Press

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Liddell chooses Eastwood MP to replace Roy as PPS


THE government last night sought to draw a line under the Carfin grotto fiasco with the announcement that Jim Murphy, the MP for Eastwood, will replace Frank Roy as parliamentary aide to Helen Liddell, the Scottish secretary. Mr Roy, the MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, resigned on Sunday after the controversy over the cancelled visit by Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, to his constituency flared up into a row with Dublin.

Last night, Mr Murphy, 33, who learned of his appointment in a telephone call from Ms Liddell, told The Herald: "I am delighted that the prime minister and secretary of state for Scotland have appointed me to this job.

"It's an important time with the election coming up and I am looking forward to joining the team at Dover House. I am determined to play my part in delivering the best for Scotland." Ms Liddell said she looked forward to working with her new parliamentary private secretary (PPS).

"Jim has worked tirelessly both for his constituency and in the House of Commons over the past four years, and I know he will bring commitment and determination to this position."

Educated at Bellarmine secondary school in Glasgow, Milnerton high school in Cape Town, South Africa, and Strathclyde University, the father-of-two was president of NUS Scotland, before serving as director of Endsleigh Insurance from 1994 to 1996. Since becoming an MP in 1997, he has been a member of the Commons public accounts committee.

There was a suggestion at Westminster that he might not become a PPS given his campaigning work in his constituency, which he won from the Tories with a 14.3% swing. He was the first Labour MP for Eastwood in 73 years. With a majority of 3236, Mr Murphy knows he has a fight to retain the seat.

- Feb 16