SNP calls for Scotland Office minister's peerage to be 'revoked'
The SNP has called for Scotland Office minister Malcolm Offord to have his peerage revoked, amid a growing row over Tory donors being nominated for the House of Lords.
Downing Street made the millionaire businessman a Lord in September so that he could then take up the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, bypassing the party’s Scottish MPs.
Offord, who founded the private equity firm Badenoch and Co has donated almost £150,000 to the Tories over the years.
He previously ran the pro-union ‘No Borders’ campaign during the 2014 independence referendum and was selected as a candidate in this year’s Holyrood election.
The SNP’s call for Offord to be de-ermined comes after the Metropolitan Police has confirmed it was considering the party’s call to investigate allegations of corruption following a report in The Sunday Times and Open Democracy that 15 of the last 16 Conservative Party treasurers have been offered a seat in the House of Lords after donating more than £3m to the party.
An ex-party chairman was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "The truth is the entire political establishment knows this happens and they do nothing about it… the most telling line is, once you pay your £3m, you get your peerage."
The Tories have denied any link between donations and nominations to the Lords.
A Conservative spokesman told the newspaper: "We do not believe that successful business people and philanthropists who contribute to political causes and parties should be disqualified from sitting in the legislature."
SNP Shadow Scottish Secretary Mhairi Black said Westminster was a “hive of corruption”.
She said: "The Tory cash for honours scandal is an appalling abuse of the system. The grubby practice of Tory politicians handing peerages to their millionaire party donors is utterly corrupt. It must be fully investigated for criminality – and action must be taken to put an end to it, once and for all.
"At a minimum, Baron Offord's peerage and appointment as a UK government minister is a shameful display of Tory cronyism and sleaze. In light of the growing controversy, it must now be revoked - or the UK Scotland Office will see its credibility sink even further into oblivion.
"People in Scotland do not want to be ruled over by unelected millionaire Tory Barons. The Westminster system is a hive of corruption – and it is broken beyond repair. The sooner Scotland can become an independent country and escape Westminster, the better."
On Sunday, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab defended the government, saying: "There is absolutely no question that we haven't followed all of the rules in relation to that and nobody is suggesting that we have done anything wrong."
He said the SNP were "just trying to rake muck".
A UK Government spokesperson said: “Lord Offord was appointed to the Second Chamber so he could serve the country as a working peer and as a Minister. Such an approach has been taken under successive administrations and ensures the accountability of the UK Government to the UK Parliament.
"As a Scotland Office Minister, Lord Offord is a champion for everything the UK Government is delivering in Scotland.”