Scottish Secretary unveils former Labour minister as adviser

·2 min read

A former Labour minister from Tony Blair’s government has been appointed as a new adviser at the Scotland Office.

Tom Harris, who headed up the Vote Leave campaign in Scotland in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, has been made the lead non-executive director to the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland.

The role will see the former Glasgow South MP, who was a transport minister under Mr Blair, give advice to UK ministers.

Announcing the appointment, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Tom has extensive experience, as well as an excellent understanding of Scottish public life.

“He brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and skills in policy, strategy and communications.

“As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, recovery remains our top priority. I’m very pleased to have Tom on board to further strengthen the UK Government’s capabilities as we build back better for Scotland.”

Mr Harris spent 14 years as MP, losing his seat in the 2015 general election, when an SNP landslide saw Labour lose 40 of the 41 seats it had held in Scotland.

Tom Harris (left) ran for Scottish Labour leader in 2011 against Ken Macintosh (right) and Johann Lamont (centre) (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Tom Harris (left) ran for Scottish Labour leader in 2011 against Ken Macintosh (right) and Johann Lamont (centre) (Andrew Milligan/PA)

During his time as an MP he ran for the post of Scottish Labour leader, losing out to Johann Lamont, who was elected to the job in 2011 after Iain Gray stood down.

Speaking about his new role, Mr Harris said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to this role and I’m looking forward to contributing to the effective work of the UK Government in Scotland.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in advising and helping ministers deliver for the whole country.”

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