The new ministers

May 9, 1997

BRIAN WILSON: SCOTTISH OFFICE MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND INDUSTRY

BRIAN WILSON, MP for Cunninghame North, becomes Scottish Office minister for education and industry, marking the joint remit of the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department, which was divided between two ministerial portfolios under the Conservatives, writes Olga Wotjas.

Mr Wilson, 48, graduated in modern history from Dundee University in 1970 before taking a diploma in journalism at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He was a founder of the West Highland Free Press, and still lives on Skye.

During his 10 years as an MP, he has championed the cause of Gaelic education. His remit includes responsibility for the Highlands and Islands, and he will encourage the development of the University of the Highlands and Islands project, promoting links between the educational partners, local authorities and the private sector.

The Scottish higher education budget has been reasonably well protected by Tory ministers, and Mr Wilson faces a tough fight to maintain this, given competing ministerial priorities.

A key question will be how a devolved Scottish parliament should run the tertiary sector. He has been a fervent opponent of devolution, although he now claims to support decentralisation.

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