McConnell Takes On NCH Charity Role

Former first minister Jack McConnell is to become an ambassador for a national children’s charity. The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP agreed to take on the role at NCH to promote its work in supporting vulnerable children across the UK.

It comes just over two weeks after MPs urged the former teacher to quit as an MSP before taking up his position for British High Commissioner to Malawi.

Mr McConnell said serving his constituents was a priority.

As an NCH ambassador Mr McConnell will help the charity to fulfil its mission to help the most vulnerable children and young people.

He will follow in the footsteps of actor Jenny Agutter and broadcasters Sir Trevor McDonald and Angela Rippon who are already ambassadors for the organisation.

Mr McConnell, who has been a long-time supporter of the charity, said: “NCH are a wonderful organisation, providing hope and opportunity to some of Britain’s most vulnerable young people.

“I will use all my experience to help them be even more effective.

“This is an honour, and I hope I can help make a real difference to many young lives in this new role.”

NCH chief executive Clare Tickell said she was delighted Mr McConnell had agreed to take on the role.

She said: “His direct experience of working with children as a teacher, coupled with his vast knowledge and understanding of policy relating to young people, will mean that he will be a huge asset to NCH.”

‘Incredibly fortunate’

Andrew Girvan, director of children’s services for NCH Scotland said the charity had already benefited from the former first minister’s support.

“He has always been interested in our work and, more generally, in developments that deliver real results for children and young people,” he said.

“We are incredibly fortunate that he has decided to give up his time to support our work in a more formal capacity across the whole of the UK.”

Mr McConnell stood down as Labour leader after the party lost the election in 2007 to the SNP.

Last month MPs on the foreign affairs select committee said it would be “unsatisfactory” for Mr McConnell to stay at Holyrood while preparing to become British High Commissioner to Malawi.

They raised concerns over Mr McConnell continuing his duties as an MSP while preparing for the “politically impartial” role of High Commissioner.

Mr McConnell said the handover arrangements for the post were entirely a matter for the Foreign Office.