Saturday 21 December 2002


Henry McLeish was forced out as First Minister of the Scottish parliament a year ago. As a former Westminster MP he was entitled to a £30,000 pay-off from that institution, having not sought re-election in 2001. When he was still First Minister he told MSPs that he would not accept the £30,000. It now turns out that he has taken the cash. So what's his excuse?
He added: "I responded (to MSPs) in my capacity as First Minister and at that time I had no intention to claim the payments available to me on ceasing to be an MP.

"I did not anticipate the situation that I might cease to be First Minister soon afterwards.

"In light of the change in my circumstances, I reviewed these matters and consequently addressed the issue of my entitlement on ceasing to be an MP."

So he gained political credit for announcing that he would forgo the payment only to take it when his "circumstances" had changed. And some people still trust these guys.