Alex Salmond ‘should join the House of Lords’

Alex Salmond has said he intends to stand for election again after losing his Gordon seat in June
Alex Salmond has said he intends to stand for election again after losing his Gordon seat in June
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Scotland Office minister Ian Duncan has urged Alex Salmond to return to parliament by joining him in the House of Lords.

Mr Duncan, who will be elevated to the Lords and made Lord Duncan of Springbank today, said the SNP is “missing in action” because it does not have any peers in the Upper Chamber to exert greater influence over legislation.

He suggested the Scottish Nationalists could choose candidates for peerages in an internal election, who would resign after the UK leaves the EU.

Mr Duncan admitted the House of Lords was a “curiosity”, but said it was a loss to the SNP and the UK that Mr Salmond’s experience wasn’t available in parliament.

“In lots of ways, the House of Lords is a curiosity, there’s no question of that,” Mr Duncan said.

“Its procedures in how you become elevated are strange. It is an example of patronage. It has been through a modest reform, it will go through further reform, I don’t doubt that.”

He added: “I frankly think there should be far more members of the SNP in it because right now, it’s the second chamber of the United Kingdom. They are needed there. Their voice is needed there. The views they have are needed there.

“I don’t mind how they get there. They can decide among themselves to have a small internal election and then put forward names, and they can declare they will resign afterwards after a given period, but they should be there.

Mr Duncan said it was important that “all voices are heard” during the Brexit process, and suggested the Lords would have as much influence over legislation as the Commons.

“The second chamber will be a place where much will happen, because there is no real majority at all in the second chamber.

“If you look at the House of Commons and think how difficult legislation will be there, it will be as nothing compared to the House of Lords.”

“You’re going to have to be very clever to move legislation through there without serious amendment, and that will be a challenge, and I do think the SNP are missing in action. They should be there.”

Mr Salmond announced earlier this month that he will appear for a two-week run on the Edinburgh Fringe, and has said he wants to stand for election as an MP again.

Mr Duncan, who narrowly failed to be elected at the general election last month, made light of claims by Nicola Sturgeon that his ennoblement and appointment as a minister was a “democratic abomination”.

“I only learned about that because he sent me a text saying, ‘But you’re my abomination’,” he said.

His title includes the name of the street he grew up on in the Perthshire town of Alyth, where his parents and grandparents lived.

The SNP supports the abolition of the House of Lords and has a policy of not taking peerages.

When asked about the prospect in 2014 after resigning as SNP leader, Mr Salmond told Sky News: “The rocks would melt with the sun before I’d ever set foot in the House of Lords.”

Mr Salmond previously used the phrase, which appears in Robert Burns’ song A Red, Red Rose, to illustrate his opposition to tuition fees for Scottish students.

His successor as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted in response to the comment in 2014: “This is what a principled politician sounds like, Westminister.”

Scotland Office minister Ian Duncan has urged Alex Salmond to return to parliament - by joining him in the House of Lords.