The resignation of Liberal Democrat David Laws after an expenses scandal has provided the new Westminster coalition its first taste of a crisis and has also led to yet another new Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr Laws, who was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury less than three weeks ago, stood down saying that he no longer believed his position was tenable after it emerged he had claimed more than £40,000 to live in his partner's house.

The shock resignation saw new Secretary of State for Scotland Danny Alexander hastily drafted in as Mr Laws’ replacement.  Mr Alexander’s own replacement will be fellow Lib Dem Michael Moore.

Many will see the casual nature of Mr Alexander’s removal from the SOS post, after such a short tenure, as proof of the diminished status with which the position, and by extension the Scotland Office, is held by the new government.  It is known that the Lib Dems view the role as defunct and want it abolished.

Given this and the Conservatives lukewarm response to the original Calman proposals questions will surely be asked of the new coalition’s commitment to extra powers for Holyrood and the seriousness of their ‘respect’ agenda for Scotland.

The Secretary of State’s role was seen as being key to the smooth implementation of whatever new powers the new coalition agree to hand over.  The Scotland Office had announced only days ago that the original Calman group was to be reconvened and chaired by Mr Alexander.

It will now be the relatively unknown Michael Moore who takes those discussions forward.  He will also, alongside junior Minister David Mundell, consult with the Scottish government on these still to be determined changes.

As the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander now faces the daunting task of implementing the new government's deficit reduction plan which will lead to massive public spending cuts.

He was caught by surprise when given the role of Scottish Secretary of State on 12 May, 17 days later this sudden promotion to one of the most high profile positions in cabinet will come as a further shock.

It will also present the Lib Dems in Scotland with a double headache as a Scottish Lib Dem MP will be the public face of the savage cuts to be made to the Scottish budget and another will take the role of the cabinet’s man in Scotland and will have to defend those same cuts.

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