THE son of a Scottish soldier from Glasgow stepped up to one of the top political posts in Germany this week - perhaps on his way eventually to becoming chancellor.

David McAllister, a British citizen, became leader of the opposition conservative party in embattled chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's home state.

Mr McAllister, who has a German mother, was appointed leader of the Christian Democratic Union in the state parliament in Lower Saxony. Whispers of future greatness - including even a shot at the chancellery itself - are on everyone's lips.

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The conservatives' fortunes are improving in Germany as Mr Schroeder is battered by economic forces at home and by allies abroad. Mr Schroeder lost his home state to the CDU in September - paving the way for Mr McAllister to become the first British citizen to hold such high office in Germany.

Mr McAllister, a lawyer by training, was brought up in Berlin, where his father James was stationed with a Scottish regiment when the city was under four-power occupation.

''But it was a very British upbringing,'' he said. ''British network, British schools. While most of the other kids went home to relatives in England, I had a German mum so I grew up fluent in both languages.''

Mr McAllister's father, James Buchanan McAllister, was a captain with the 51st Highland Division who served in the second world war and returned to Germany as an Army civil servant attached to signals.

Proud equally of his Scots heritage and his German background, Mr McAllister, 32, moved to Bad Bederska when he was 11.

''It was more or less clear to me that we had turned German then,'' he said.

The town is still his home. But Berlin, an island of capitalism in a sea of communism, had a profound and lasting impression on him. By the age of 10, he was devouring five German and five English newspapers a day, fascinated by political developments.

''I love politics and am fascinated by them,'' he said. ''I love serving the people. It started in Hanover where I was studying where I got involved in local politics.''

He could have relinquished his German citizenship to avoid compulsory military service but opted to serve instead. His first political post came in 1991 when he was chairman of the young conservative branch of the party in Cuxhaven.

Nine years later he was chairman of the CDU parliamentary faction there. Since 1998 he has been an MP in the Lower Saxony parliament, general secretary of the party in the state since August last year and now leader in parliament.

Mr McAllister is unmarried but has a long-term girlfriend. He says being a Scot does not have any disadvantages - except that people find it hard to pronounce his name.

He said: ''Every Germany has been to McDonald's countless times. But they somehow can't seem to get it that an A follows the C in my name. With very, very few exceptions I have found, in all seriousness, that no-one is against my Scottish heritage.''

Mr McAllister returns to Glasgow regularly to see relatives living in the Newton Mearns suburb of the city and is a supporter of Rangers.