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New Scottish First Minister admits to affair.

LABOUR has a new leader in Scotland barring final formalities, after a day of high drama in which the man who will almost certainly become the country's next First Minister admitted to an extramarital affair.

Jack McConnell, 41, the country's education minister, called a news conference in Edinburgh where he said he had now learned from his "mistakes" of seven years ago.

With his wife Bridget at his side, Mr McConnell said: "It has been an open secret for seven years.

"It caused significant hurt to a number of people and I regret that very much to this day."

Mr McConnell, who from the outset had been the favourite in Labour's Scottish leadership contest, made the admission yesterday in a bid to clear the air.

The controversy, however, appears to have made no difference to the support he was getting from other MSPs.

When nominations for the leadership closed at 5pm, Labour said: "Jack McConnell received 33 nominations and is therefore the only valid candidate."

Mr McConnell's bid to clear the air about his private life had been made all the more urgent by media scrutiny on Henry McLeish, who until last week was Scotland's First Minister.

Mr McLeish resigned on Thursday after a controversy over his constituency office expenses when he was Westminster MP for Central Fife.

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'MISTAKE': Jack McConnell with wife Bridget
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 14, 2001
Words:226
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