Peerage for Tory MEP is '˜reward for failure'

A Conservative MEP who narrowly lost his bid to be elected to Westminster has been tipped to receive a peerage and be made a minister, prompting claims he is being 'rewarded for failure'.

Ian Duncan lost by 21 votes in Perth and North Perthshire.
Ian Duncan lost by 21 votes in Perth and North Perthshire.

Reports suggest Ian Duncan will be given a seat in the House of Lords and made the junior Scotland Office minister, despite losing to the SNP incumbent by 21 votes in Perth and North Perthshire two weeks ago.

Party sources are said to be keen to use Mr Duncan’s experience of the EU, which has seen him lead the EU office for the Scottish Parliament and advise the Holyrood European and external relations committee, before becoming the Tory MEP for Scotland in 2014.

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Mr Duncan did not deny the reports, saying: “I certainly hope that my experience in Brussels will be used to the fullest extent in every possible way.”

He added: “I can confirm there are a lot of discussions going on right now and I hope I in the next few days will be able to confirm the outcome of those discussions.”

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister was unaware of plans for any new peerages when asked about Mr Duncan’s position. Theresa May previously suggested MPs who stood down would not be given peerages as part of the election Dissolution List.

Pete Wishart, who held the Perth and North Perthshire seat for the SNP, said a peerage for Mr Duncan would be an “insult” to his constituents.

“That anyone can be rejected by the electorate and then just days later find themselves in a powerful government role is fundamentally undemocratic,” Mr Wishart said.

“It also says something about the new group of 12 Scottish Tory MPs who have been passed over and apparently not up to the job.

“The House of Lords is a ridiculous, archaic institution which is accountable to no-one and yet wields huge influence over how our laws are made.

“Politicians should not be rewarded for failure and should not end up governing the country when they lose democratic elections.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Ian Duncan was rejected by the people of Perth and North Perthshire just days ago. Now it seems he will sit in Parliament anyway thanks to a Tory stich-up.

“That shouldn’t be how our democracy works.”