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Jackson Carlaw removes rival Michelle Ballantyne from shadow cabinet

Jackson Carlaw and Michelle Ballantyne at last week's Tory leadership announcement. Image credit: PA

Jackson Carlaw removes rival Michelle Ballantyne from shadow cabinet

Jackson Carlaw has removed Michelle Ballantyne from his new shadow cabinet in a reshuffle, after she criticised his interim leadership during her campaign.

Carlaw was elected Scottish Conservatives leader over Ballantyne last week, winning by a 75 per cent majority, after a bitter campaign that saw her accuse him of “trying to undermine my campaign through secret recordings, leaks to the press and tall tales from the shadow cabinet room”.

In a reshuffle announced on Tuesday, Ballantyne’s social security portfolio was handed to Graham Simpson, who now becomes shadow cabinet secretary for housing, communities and social security. Ballantyne was instead nominated as convener of the Economy, Fair Work and Culture Committee, subject to election by the Scottish Parliament.

Peter Chapman has been stripped of the rural economy portfolio, with new party chairwoman Rachael Hamilton appointed shadow secretary for rural economy and tourism.

Gordon Lindhurst has also been removed from the shadow cabinet, with the economy, fair work and culture brief handed to Maurice Golden.

On Friday, Carlaw announced his joint deputy leaders would be Annie Wells and Liam Kerr. Wells has also been announced as shadow cabinet secretary for environment, climate change, land reform and COP26, and Kerr stays on as shadow justice secretary.

Liz Smith has been replaced as shadow cabinet secretary for education by Jamie Green, with Smith moved to the position of chief whip.

Murdo Fraser has been made constitution secretary with Adam Tomkins taking the newly-created role of shadow cabinet secretary for strategy. Donald Cameron has moved to become shadow cabinet secretary for finance.

Carlaw said his new shadow cabinet was “designed to take on the SNP” leading into the 2021 Holyrood election, and will "take the Scottish Conservatives into government after it".

“We’ve got the best people fighting in the best places, and they’re going to bring us onto the next level,” he said.

“I said during the leadership campaign that I wanted to press the positive case for the union across all areas of political debate, and that’s exactly what Murdo Fraser – one of Holyrood’s most senior and respected MSPs – will be doing.

“I also promised to prioritise areas like housing – such a critical area for young people across the country – which is why I’ve included that role within the shadow cabinet.

“It’s simply not enough for us to be a strong and effective opposition anymore. We need to prove to the people of Scotland that we’re a government in waiting, and that’s exactly what I intend to do over the next 15 months.”

The Scottish Conservatives shadow cabinet in full:

Leader – Jackson Carlaw MSP

Deputy Leaders – Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice - Liam Kerr MSP; Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change, Land Reform and COP26 - Annie Wells MSP

Chief Whip – Liz Smith MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance – Donald Cameron MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution and External Affairs – Murdo Fraser MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Strategy – Adam Tomkins MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health – Miles Briggs MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education – Jamie Greene MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture – Maurice Golden MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Infrastructure and Transport – Dean Lockhart MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism – Rachael Hamilton MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Communities and Social Security – Graham Simpson MSP

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