Unelected millionaire dogged by 'cronyism' accusations given peerage and Scottish ministerial role by UK Government

An unelected millionaire who failed to be elected to Holyrood in May’s election and has donated almost £150,000 to the Conservative party has been appointed a minister and given a peerage by Boris Johnson’s government.

Malcolm Offord, who was dogged by accusations of “cronyism” during the candidate selection process for the Scottish Conservatives before the 2021 election, will take up the position of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office.

The founder of private equity firm Badenoch and Co. replaces the Banff and Buchan MP, David Duguid, who was sacked during the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Malcolm Offord as a minister in the Scotland Office.

It is understood Mr Offord’s business background led to the decision to offer him a peerage and the unpaid ministerial role.

He previously ran the pro-union ‘No Borders’ campaign during the 2014 independence referendum.

Following the row over his selection as a regional list candidate, Mr Offord was placed fifth on the Lothian list and failed to be elected.

Two Scottish Conservative MPs, Andrew Bowie and John Lamont, were overlooked by the Prime Minister in favour of Mr Offord.

Reacting, Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay 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.”

Announcing the news, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “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, Mr 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.”

Mr Offord’s support of the Conservatives goes back at least 14 years, with the businessman donating £15,000 as recently as November 2019.

He has also given £2,500 directly to Michael Gove and £7,500 to Conservative peer Philippa Stroud’s 2010 parliamentary campaign in previous years.

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