Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘mass cronyism’ after it emerged that a large Tory donor would become a government colleague and minister.
Financier Malcolm Offord, who donated £147,500 to the Conservative Party, has been appointed deputy minister in the Scottish Bureau.
Since he is not an elected official, he will have a lifetime honor to assume the role.
Mr Offord’s appointment comes months after his failed attempt to become MSP in the Holyrood election in May.
Fiona Hislop, an MSP at Linlithgow, noted the irony. “You are more likely to be a minister for the Tory Scotland office if you are rejected by voters in the Scottish election,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, MP Stewart Hosey, one of his SNP allies, said the Tories’ decision to assign roles and peers to party donors “shows contempt for democracy.”
He suggested that the ‘creeping Conservative crony’ ‘shadow’ Westminster, adding that Scotland would be better off outside the Union.
The Scottish Greens have also attacked the prime minister, his MP Gillian McKay, calling the decision an “disgrace”.
However, Scotland’s secretary of state, Alister Jack, defended the move, saying Mr Offord would help the country’s economic recovery through his “wealth of valuable business experience”.
“I look forward to working with Malcolm in the coming months and years as we invest in Scotland to grow our economy and create jobs,” he said.
This is not the first time Mr Johnson has faced backlash for raising an unelected figure in government.
She was criticized early in her tenure for giving Nicky Morgan a colleague so she could serve as Secretary of Culture, even though she did not run in the 2019 general election.
Zack Goldsmith also entered the House of Lords to serve as minister, while David Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator, joined the cabinet in March 2021, six months after receiving a peer.
The prime minister’s decision to appoint Tory donor Peter Cruddas also sparked a scandal, especially when it was revealed he had donated £500,000 to the party in February 2021, three days after becoming a peer.
PA. additional report by
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