'Oh aye! 'Go back tae Scotland and fix thae Nats' he says, 'I'll stand by ye'. he says,
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Reid tipped for Cabinet 'Holyrood relations' post
By Jason Allardyce, Scottish Political ReporterThe Transport Minister, Dr John Reid, is being tipped for Cabinet promotion to resolve disputes between Westminster and a Scottish parliament after a campaign to deny Helen Liddell the key post.
Senior party and government figures have told the Prime Minister that tension between London and Edinburgh will grow if Mrs Liddell becomes the Secretary of State for Scotland after the Scottish elections on May 6.
Mrs Liddell, who reluctantly left the treasury last year to boost Labour's flagging Scottish campaign as Deputy Scottish Secretary, had been expecting to assume the Cabinet job after devolution, but critics say that she is too abrasive and that her aggressive approach to Scottish nationalism is being portrayed by the SNP as anti-Scottish. They believe that she is an unpopular choice among voters and many of the new Holyrood politicians for the job that Donald Dewar will vacate to become First Minister in the Edinburgh parliament.
The Blairite MP for Airdrie is already being eased out of the Labour front-line election team, party because she is not standing for the Scottish Parliament. Sources believe the decision to allow Dr Reid to deliver a well-received speech prior to Mr Blair's address to the Scottish Labour conference last week was significant, and it is suggested that he is being groomed as Mr Dewar's successor. 'He is not viewed in Scotland as being remote. He is rated by Tony Blair and he has won the trust of John Prescott. With Helen you're sometimes afraid even to say hello to her,' said a senior party source.
Dr Reid's supporters say that he is the best man to represent Scotland on matters over which Westminster will retain power, such as the budget for the Scots parliament, defence and social security.
Supporters of Mrs Liddell, however, said: 'She would be the best fighter for Scotland and Scottish shipyards when defence contracts are being considered, for example. She is prepared to roll the sleeves up and get on with the work.'