Trainer to advise Scottish leader

Edinburgh: Former Luther Pendragon partner Douglas Trainer has re-emerged as a special adviser to Scotland’s First Minister, Jack McConnell.

Trainer is advising him on healthcare policy, two months after the Scottish Executive’s ban on smoking in public places came into effect. He will also provide more general advice to

McConnell in preparation for next May’s Scottish parliamentary elections.

His arrival has been criticised in the Scottish media – his appointment takes the number of special advisers in the executive to a record 12, the maximum permitted. Their combined wage bill is around £750,000 a year, prompting the Tory opposition to brand it a ‘cavalier use of taxpayers’ money’.

Trainer quit Luther last autumn after seven years (PRWeek, 7 October 2005). He has since worked for
Coca-Cola on a ‘community engagement’ project that staved off threats by student unions to boycott the soft-drinks firm. Prior to Luther, Trainer was president of the National Union of Students.

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