Former Tory Holyrood candidate to be made UK Government minister

Businessman Malcolm Offord will be given a peerage to allow him to take up the role.

Former Tory Holyrood candidate to be made UK Government minister iStock

A Conservative candidate who failed to win election to Holyrood in May is to be made a minister in the UK Government.

Businessman Malcolm Offord, who has worked in financial services, has been announced as a new junior minister at the Scotland Office.

He will be given a peerage to allow him to take up the role.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack welcomed the move, saying: “It’s great news that Malcolm Offord has been appointed as a UK Government minister for Scotland.

“At this critical time, as we recover from the pandemic, Offord will bring to bear a wealth of valuable business experience.

“I very much look forward to working with Malcolm over the coming months and years, as we invest in Scotland to grow our economy and create jobs.”

However Green MSP Gillian Mackay said the appointment showed the “contempt the Prime Minister has for Scottish democracy”.

Offord, who stood as a Conservative candidate for the Lothian region in May’s Holyrood election, failed to be elected.

She added it was a “disgrace” that an unelected Conservative donor had been appointed to the Government.

The Central Scotland MSP said: “It’s not often I agree with Boris Johnson, but his assessment of the Scottish Tory MP group as a crowd unfit for ministerial office is one I’m sure we can all support.

“However, his decision to appoint a Tory donor who was rejected by the Scottish electorate just a few months ago is a disgrace and sums up the contempt the Prime Minister has for Scottish democracy.”

The SNP condemned the “rampant cronyism” within the UK Tory Government following Mr Offord’s appointment.

The SNP’s shadow Cabinet Office spokesperson Stewart Hosie said: “There are already serious questions facing the Tories over the use of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money for vanity projects and Covid contracts, but to now hand out roles and peerages to party donors shows contempt for democracy.

“Boris Johnson has clearly failed to appoint someone within his own ranks and has now had to go searching for a financial associate to help counter the growing support for independence.

“The Prime Minister can try and run away from the idea of an independence referendum, but ultimately he cannot hide from democracy and from the cast-iron electoral mandate which exists.

“The reality is that Scotland is hugely vulnerable under Westminster control – with severe labour shortages, empty supermarket shelves, an ongoing fuel crisis, and rampant Tory cronyism engulfing Westminster.

“The people of Scotland have had enough of the sleaze at the heart of the UK Government. The only way we can protect Scotland from the sleaze and cronyism of the Tories is by becoming an independent country.”

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