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The deliverer

LORD MACDONALD becomes the fourth New Labour Transport Cabinet Minister trailing a reputation as a 'deliverer', albeit one with no apparent interest in his new portfolio. Like his three predecessors - Gavin Strang, John Reid and Helen Liddell - Gus MacDonald is a mover and shaker in the Scottish Labour Party. However, his rise to high office could not have been more different.

Born in Central Scotland in 1940, he began work as a marine fitter at the age of 15 in the Clyde shipyards. Then a committed Trotskyist, he led an apprentices' strike covering several yards.

He moved to London in 1963 and entered journalism. Four years later he joined Granada Television making his name as an editor on World in Action and, much later, as presenter of Channel Four's Right to Reply. At the age of 50 he embarked on his third career, becoming managing director of Scottish Television and successfully retaining the station's franchise for just £2,000. By 1997 he had overseen a series of high profile takeovers and seen his salary rise to £305,000.

Last August he was surprisingly made a life peer and appointed Scottish industry minister. His promotion is said to owe much to the role he played in negotiations to save the Govan shipyard after owner Kvaerner threatened closure.

London transport minister Keith Hill has a perfect political background for his new post. MP for Streatham since1992, he spent five years on the transport select committee. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to DETR minister Hilary Armstrong.

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