Ian Duncan’s peerage ‘no substitute’ for democracy, says Mike Russell

Written by Staff reporter on 7 July 2017 in News

Exclusive: Scotland's Brexit minister challenges Ian Duncan's claim he can represent Scotland in Brexit talks

Mike Russell - Holyrood Magazine

Ian Duncan’s decision to resign as an MEP and take a peerage to enter government means he no longer represents voters, Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell has said.

Writing exclusively for Holyrood this week in response to criticism over his appointment, Duncan said playing an active role in Brexit negotiations was an opportunity to ensure Scotland gets “the best deal possible” using his experience in Europe and the fisherman’s federation.

“Of course I took the job. It matters,” he said.


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Responding, Russell said the issue wasn’t how qualified Duncan was but about accountability.

“As an MEP he had an electoral mandate. He represented people. He could be removed if he was judged to be a failure,” he told Holyrood.

“As a peer and minister appointed by the Prime Minister he represents no one except her. He certainly has no mandate or right to speak for anyone in Scotland. And he is in the House of Lords for life.”

Russell said the Joint Ministerial Committee, through which cabinet ministers consult the governments of the devolved nations, has not met to discuss Brexit since February.

“Scotland's voice should have been factored into each negotiating cycle,” he said.   

“The presence of Lord Duncan, or even Dr Duncan, on the red benches is no substitute for that political and practical reality.”

In his piece for Holyrood, Duncan pledged to listen to “each and every stakeholder” during the Brexit process.

“I will be do my best to sit with every organisation, every body, every representative of every sector who wants to speak, to make sure that no view is overlooked or passes unheard,” he said.

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