Scotland politics

Education Secretary Mike Russell 'did not consider stepping down'

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Media captionSpeaking on Newsnight Scotland, Mr Russell said he was focused on delivering for young people

Scotland's education secretary has told BBC Scotland he did not consider resigning during the recent row over inaccurate figures on college budgets and claims of intimidation.

Mike Russell said he was focused on delivering for Scotland's young people.

He has faced calls from Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems to step down.

Speaking on Newsnight Scotland the minister said he had no plans to quit his post, nor had Alex Salmond suggested such a course of action.

He said: "I think the issue is, did I make a mistake? Yes I did. Did I apologise for that mistake? Yes I did."

When asked if he had considered standing down he replied: "Absolutely not. I am focused on, and the first minister is focused on, and the Scottish government is focused on ensuring that we get through the process of college reform, which is extremely important, and deliver for Scotland's young people."

College resignation

Speaking during a government-led debate on colleges at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Mr Russell again apologised for getting college funding figures wrong.

Earlier in the week, the minister made a "full and unreserved" apology to MSPs after admitting he told them in June that college funding would not be cut in 2012-13, when it actually fell by £9.3m.

Opposition parties have also accused Mr Russell of being part of a "culture of secrecy, bullying and intimidation" in his relationship with the college sector, in the wake of the resignation of Kirk Ramsay as chairman of Glasgow's Stow College.

Mr Ramsay stepped down blaming an "unwarranted personal attack" by Mr Russell after recording a private discussion during a meeting with the education secretary and other college chiefs.

Last week, First Minister Alex Salmond apologised for telling MSPs that resource funding for colleges was £545m in 2011-12 and £546m in 2012-13.

He later explained the figure of £545m for last year did not take into account changes to the budget, and should instead have been £555.7m.

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