Former minister Rhona Brankin is stepping down as education spokeswoman for family reasons. She will be replaced by Clydebank and Milngavie MSP Des McNulty.

Mr Gray said he was sorry to announce Ms Brankin’s departure.

“Rhona has taken Fiona Hyslop to task as the worst education minister since devolution began, with broken promises on class sizes, school buildings and teacher numbers,” he said.

“However I have asked Rhona if she will continue her work on policy, particularly with the literacy commission, and I am pleased to say it will continue to be her priority.”

Former justice minister Cathy Jamieson is replaced as party health spokeswoman by Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie. Ms Jamieson is moved to housing and regeneration.

Former health minister Andy Kerr takes on a beefed up finance and economy remit, while Hamilton North and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon becomes local government spokesman.

John Park moves from his economy and skills role to take on a new elections and campaigns portfolio. He remains in the shadow cabinet.

Mr Gray said: “This is a big year ahead for Labour with the general election coming up and the need to prepare the groundwork for the Scottish elections in 2011.

“My first year as Labour leader was all about stability and exposing the SNP’s incompetence and how they have let Scotland down.

“The SNP record, or rather lack of it, says it all. Their flagship policies are in tatters. They abandoned their local income tax, and the Scottish Futures Trust has been exposed as a total failure.”