Wendy Alexander's cabinet table will have seven women and three men around it, after the new Labour leader at Holyrood named her ministerial team last night.

Margaret Curran takes the health portfolio, Pauline McNeill gets justice, Sarah Boyack takes over rural affairs and Rhona Brankin is handed education. With Jackie Baillie being made Shadow Minister for Parliamentary Business and constitutional issues it makes for a shadow cabinet packed with close associates of Ms Alexander.

The huge job of shadowing John Swinney is split between Iain Gray, who takes on finance and sustainable growth, and public services, which which goes to former health secretary Andy Kerr. As Chief Whip, Michael McMahon will also sit in cabinet, as will Deputy Leader Cathy Jamieson, who has been given a party reform rather than ministerial portfolio.

Others will be asked to attend shadow cabinet as appropriate, such as Malcolm Chisholm, given the junior portfolio for Europe, external affairs and culture.

Another big job just outside shadow cabinet goes to Charles Gordon, who takes the transport brief, while of the May intake John Park is awarded the skills portfolio which is controversial at a time of Scottish Enterprise reform.

Former MSP and minister Richard Simpson also re-emerges in the public health brief, while Karen Gillon's loyalty and experience sees her given rural development. Elaine Murray, the Dumfries MSP, is given the job of going head-to-head with Enterprise Minister Jim Mather. The biggest casualty from team McConnell is Hugh Henry, former education minister, who has agreed to accept convenership of the audit committee. The other former minister to be left out is Patricia Ferguson, former culture minister.

One of the few MSPs in the Campaign for Socialism group, Ms Ferguson ultimately did not attend the gathering of that group which failed to find a challenger to Ms Alexander's candidacy.

While a new Europe and External Relations Committee convener will have to be found to replace Ms Baillie, it is understood that Frank McAveety will be allowed to combine his sports portfolio with continuing as convener of the Public Petitions Committee.

Ms Alexander said: "The new Labour team reflects the breadth of experience in our ranks at Holyrood. This team will hold the SNP's minority administration to account and simultaneously reflect the real priorities of the people of Scotland."

Wendy's shadow team Leader of the Opposition: Wendy Alexander Deputy Leader: Cathy Jamieson* Shadow Minister for Parliamentary Business and Constitutional Issues: Jackie Baillie* Chief Whip and Deputy Business Manager: Michael McMahon* Shadow Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture: Malcolm Chisholm Shadow Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth: Iain Gray Shadow Minister for Enterprise: Elaine Murray Shadow Minister for Energy and Tourism: Lewis Macdonald Shadow Secretary for Public Services: Andy Kerr Shadow Minister for Transport: Charles Gordon Shadow Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learing: Rhona Brankin Shadow Minister for Schools: Ken MacIntosh Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years: Mary Mulligan Spokesperson for Higher Education and Student Support: Richard Baker Spokesperson for Skills: John Park Shadow Secretary for Health and Wellbeing: Margaret Curran Shadow Minister for Public Health: Richard Simpson Shadow Minister for Communities: Johann Lamont Spokesperson for Sport: Frank McAveety Shadow Secretary for Justice: Pauline McNeill Shadow Minister for Community Safety: Paul Martin Shadow Secretary for Rural Affairs, the Environment and Climate Change: Sarah Boyack Shadow Minister for Environment: Des McNulty Shadow Minister for Rural Development: Karen Gillon

OTHER APPOINTMENTS: Scottish Parliament Corporate Body: Former finance minister Tom McCabe will be Labour's nomination. Whips: Dave Stewart and James Kelly Parliamentary aide to the leader: Dave Whitton * Full member of shadow cabinet