SNP says UK Government role for Ruth Davidson would be 'democratic obscenity'

The SNP have criticised potential plans for former Scottish Conservative leader and future peer Ruth Davidson to be given a job in the UK Government.

Describing such a move as a “democratic obscenity”, the SNP said voters would be “dismayed” at the UK Government giving Ms Davidson a role after she has stepped down as an MSP and takes her seat in the House of Lords.

The comments come after Michael Gove, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, indicated such a move for the Edinburgh Central MSP may be on the cards.

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In an interview with STV, it was put to the government minister that Ms Davidson would no longer be “part of the team” following the election.

Ruth Davidson will enter the House of Lords following the election in May
Ruth Davidson will enter the House of Lords following the election in May

In response, Mr Gove said: “But Scotland has two governments, Scotland has two parliaments and it’s important that we have talent in Westminster and in Holyrood and that they work together. That’s what I’m here to do, to make sure that those people work together.”

The SNP say this is an indication Ms Davidson could be set for a Cabinet or ministerial position post-election, and highlighted the cases of Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith, who were appointed to the Lords after they either retired or were defeated at the ballot box.

Both served in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet following the 2019 general election, with Mr Goldsmith still in position as a foreign affairs minister.

Rona Mackay, an SNP MSP, said a move for Ms Davidson into a UK Government role would show the Westminster system as “broken beyond repair”.

She said: “Michael Gove’s refusal to rule out Baroness Davidson securing an unelected place in Boris Johnson’s Government from the House of Lords shows the Tories’ utter disdain for democracy.

“It seems that now Tories don’t even need to bother standing in an election and being held to account by the public in order to keep the perks of ministerial posts. That is a democratic obscenity.

"It’s bad enough for Ruth Davidson to have accepted a seat in the Lords – if she had any shred of integrity she would make it clear now she will not accept an unelected role in government, working for a man who led the Brexit campaign she once repeatedly accused of having ‘lied’ to people.

“Voters across Scotland would be rightly dismayed if an unelected politician was to pick up a ministerial salary on top of her cushy £300-a-day Lords' job, after dodging democracy by running off to join a group of Tory donors, cronies and politicians rejected by the voters.

“The Westminster system is broken beyond repair. The coming election is a stark choice – both votes SNP are needed to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands and not Boris Johnson’s.”

Ms Davidson accepted the peerage in June last year.

At the time, she said: “I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of former Holyrood parliamentarians such as Jack McConnell, Jim Wallace and Annabel Goldie in being nominated for membership of the House of Lords.

"As a chamber dedicated to scrutinising and revising legislation, the upper house is stronger when it includes a range of voices with experience from different jobs, backgrounds, specialities and parliaments across the UK, and I believe I can make a contribution to its work.”

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