Swinney's Back on the Front Bench
Byline: STUART NICOLSON
FORMER SNP leader John Swinney yesterday returned from the political wilderness by taking his place once again on the Nationalist front bench.
Mr Swinney quit as party chief more than a year ago following the SNP's poor showing at the European elections, when it polled less than 20 per cent of the vote.
Since then he has served on the backbenches at Holyrood and chaired the parliament's European and external affairs committee.
But SNP leader Alex Salmond, who Mr Swinney replaced at the helm in 2000 following the former's first stint in the top job, has now brought his protege back into the fold after a mini-reshuffle of his front bench.
The North Tayside MSP will serve as the party's spokesman on finance and public services, shadowing Labour Finance Minister Tom McCabe.
Mr Salmond said: 'I am delighted to welcome John Swinney back into the SNP's shadow Cabinet with responsibility for finance and public services.
'With the economy and public services set to be a central battleground in the Scottish election in 2007, John will be working further to strengthen the SNP's case in these crucial areas.' Mr Swinney suffered from constant backbiting and dissent during his four years in charge of the SNP. …