By Bill Heaney
The Scottish Conservatives have announced changes to their shadow ministerial team, as they vowed to “expose the hopelessly divided and distracted SNP Government”.
Party leader Douglas Ross said his new team would “focus relentlessly on the people’s real priorities, while the nationalists double down on their independence obsession”.
Stephen Kerr, the party’s education spokesperson, and Jamie Greene, the party’s justice spokesperson, are both now without a formal spokesperson role or committee convenership after being demoted.
Liam Kerr, the former net zero spokesperson, has been moved to education, while Russell Findlay has been promoted to take on the justice portfolio.
Another promotion is Douglas Lumsden, the former co-leader of Aberdeen council, who has taken over the net zero and transport briefs.
It is understand the “primary motivation” for the reshuffle was to promote some of the 2021 intake of MSPs which includes both Mr Findlay and Mr Lumsden.
Mr Findlay, a former journalist with the Sunday Mail, is tipped by some to be best placed to become the next leader of the party.
The new shadow ministerial team is as follows:
Leader – Douglas Ross
Deputy Leader – Meghan Gallacher
Party Chairman – Craig Hoy
Deputy Chairwoman – Pam Gosal
Chief Whip – Alexander Burnett
Deputy Chief Whip – Annie Wells
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government – Liz Smith
Deputy – Pam Gosal
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economic Growth and Tourism – Murdo Fraser
Deputy – Brian Whittle
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care – Sandesh Gulhane
Deputy – Tess White
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills – Liam Kerr
Deputy – Roz McCall
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport – Douglas Lumsden
Deputy – Graham Simpson
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice – Russell Findlay
Deputy – Sharon Dowey
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Housing and Equalities – Miles Briggs
Deputy – Jeremy Balfour
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands – Rachael Hamilton
Deputy – Jamie Halcro Johnson
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture – Donald Cameron
Deputy – Alexander Stewart
Also, as the party prepares for the 2024 General Election, David Mundell MP has been appointed as Chairman of Election Campaign Coordination.
Douglas Ross said: “I’m delighted to announce this new shadow ministerial line-up, which underlines the formidable talent and strength in depth among the team of Scottish Conservative MSPs.
“I would like to put on record my huge thanks to those who are stepping down from the team, or switching roles, for their sterling work.
“This is a key juncture in Scottish politics, and I’m convinced this new line-up will expose Humza Yousaf’s hopelessly divided and distracted SNP Government.
“The Scottish Conservatives will continue to focus relentlessly on the people’s real priorities – like the global cost-of-living crisis and NHS waiting times – while the nationalists double down on their independence obsession to deflect attention from their appalling record and internal scandals.”