Jack McConnell

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Jack McConnell

The Right Honourable Jack Wilson McConnell (born June 30, 1960 in Irvine, Scotland) is a Scottish politician, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland and the current First Minister of Scotland.


Early life and education

McConnell was born in Irvine and raised on a sheep farm near Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. He attended Arran High School and later went on to study education at the University of Stirling, where he joined – and later presided over – the Students' Association. Graduating in 1983 he began work as a mathematics teacher at Lornshill Academy in Alloa (a position he retained throughout his subsequent council service). The following year McConnell's political career began in earnest, with his election to Stirling District Council. McConnell served on the council for eight years, while retaining his job at Lornshill. He served as Treasurer from 1988 until 1992, and was the Leader of the council from 1990 until his 1992.

Political career

McConnell became the General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party in 1992. His major breakthrough was in his handling of the 1997 General Election success, where Labour attained a landslide victory over the Conservatives, eliminating every seat they held in Scotland. In 1998, he served as a member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention where he pioneered the Scottish devolution referrendum success establishing the Scottish Parliament.

McConnell was elected an MSP in the first Scottish Parliament elections in 1999. He was appointed Finance Minister in the new executive by then-First Minister Donald Dewar. Upon Dewar’s death in 2000, he contested Henry McLeish for the position of First Minister, but lost out in the ballot, instead becoming Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs under McLeish. McLeish would later be forced to resign over the affair regarding the sub-let of his constituency office, and on November 22, 2001, McConnell would become First Minister after running unopposed.


McConnell surprised many while putting his name forward as McLeish’s replacement as First Minister, making a personal admission that he had been unfaithful to his wife Bridget. He deliberately made this clear such that it was not uncovered by the tabloid news and brought against his campaign.

His first reshuffle of the cabinet in Scotland was controvertial as he axed a number of ministers loyal to McLeish and other figures in the party. The Sun dubbed him “Jack The Ripper”, and he has since been the butt of a number of nicknames including “Jumping Jack Flash” (regarding his brash, risk-taking demeanour in stark contrast to that of his predecessor) and “Jack the Lad” (a supposed slur on his public speaking and debating skills).


McConnell is a member of the GMB Union and of Amnesty International.

See also

Preceded by:
Henry McLeish
First Minister of Scotland
Succeeded by:
Current incumbent

Template:End boxde:Jack McConnell


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