Scot Michael Gove back as new Justice Secretary

Gove has previously called for hanging to be brought back. Picture: PA

Gove has previously called for hanging to be brought back. Picture: PA

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THE most senior Scot in the Conservative party, Michael Gove, has made a dramatic return in the government after he was handed the job of Justice Secretary by David Cameron.

Mr Gove, who courted controversy as education secretary in England with a massive reform of the schools system, was demoted to chief whip last year after a spat with Home Secretary Theresa May.

We will keep our promise to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world for Scotland

Chris Grayling

But the Edinburgh-born and Aberdeen-raised former journalist has been handed the job of reforming the justice system by Mr Cameron, despite calling in 1998 for hanging to be brought back.

He is replaced as chief whip by Mark Harper who impressed as a minister for the disabled and previously for immigration.

Moving from justice is Chris Grayling who will become Leader of the House and have the responsibility for pushing through English votes for English laws, locking Scottish MPs out of certain parts of parliament’s life.

“We will keep our promise to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world for Scotland,” Mr Grayling said.

“But there can’t be a complete constitutional settlement for the United Kingdom unless it also offers fairness to England. We are all passionate about safeguarding the Union and all of this is essential to preserving it for the future.”

Mr Grayling also takes the role of Lord President of the Council – overseeing the work of the Privy Council – which had been associated with the Leader of the Commons but was handed to Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg as deputy prime minister in the coalition.

Meanwhile Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been reappointed while other appointments are due to be made today.

There is huge uncertainty over the future of the Scotland Office with rumours that Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb is to be put in charge of a new department for constitutional affairs.

However, David Mundell, Scotland’s only Tory MP, is still being tipped as Scottish secretary despite a call from former first minister Alex Salmond for the department to be abolished.

The new MP for Gordon’s advice to Mr Cameron was: “When you get to the Scottish secretary, instead of appointing, mark it down as ‘none of the above’.

“Abolish the Scotland Office altogether and demonstrate some understanding of the fundamental change that has taken place in Scotland.”

The changes come after Mr Cameron reappointed Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Home Secretary Theresa May and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to their old posts within hours of his reinstallation in No10.

The Prime Minister has a greater scope for patronage among Tory MPs now that he no longer has to make space in his cabinet for five Lib Dem MPs as well as a dozen or more in the lower ministerial ranks.

Mr Osborne’s significance was reinforced by his appointment as First Secretary of State – the highest ranking cabinet minister and effectively number two to the PM.

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