Scots Tory installed as lord and made junior Scotland Office minister

Critics have condemned suggestions that the Conservative MEP Ian Duncan will be made a peer and brought into government as a 'reward for failure' after he narrowly missed out on election as an MP.
Ian Duncan. Picture: Scottish ConservativesIan Duncan. Picture: Scottish Conservatives
Ian Duncan. Picture: Scottish Conservatives

Reports claim Mr 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 Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee, before becoming the Tory MEP for Scotland in 2014.

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Speaking to the BBC this morning, 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.

“I would look upon this as a measure of experience and trying to make sure that the best experience is available to the Government.”

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister was unaware of plans for any new peerages when asked about Mr Duncan’s position this morning.

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 and should not be allowed in a modern society,” 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.

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“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: “Handing out a peerage to Ian Duncan would once again raise serious questions about the unelected House of Lords. It would be an affront to democracy.

“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.”