First Minister

Part of Contract Research Staff – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:16 pm on 22nd November 2001.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 3:16 pm, 22nd November 2001

Thank you very much, Presiding Officer. I am deeply honoured to be elected Scotland's First Minister. I am proud of the party that I represent, and of this position and this Parliament. I am especially proud that many members of my family and Bridget's family are in the public gallery.

All members of the Parliament share the privilege of election—of being entrusted to represent the people of Scotland. I have been given a great privilege in leading this Government. It is time to listen to the people of Scotland and to do them justice by the quality of our debate, the clarity of our decision making and the integrity of our actions.

The responsibility of leadership is not one that I take lightly. Scotland's First Minister and this Scottish Parliament must earn the confidence of the people of Scotland, because Scotland is a wonderful country. We export more per head than some of the strongest economies in the world. We have a cultural and literary tradition that is envied throughout the world. We punch above our weight in sports and sciences and we live in some of the world's most beautiful surroundings. The resources of nature are our inheritance.

Politics and public service are about nothing if they are not based on principles, focused on improving lives and dedicated to a better world. Members serving in the Parliament come from different places and have all been in different circumstances, but the greatest challenge that we all face is to leave a better world to those who follow us. Sometimes in robust and honest debate and sometimes in unity, this Parliament is up to that challenge. I am ready to deliver and I will be proud to serve you as First Minister along the way. [Applause.]