- Boris Johnson gave a ministerial job to a Tory donor, and also made him a life peer.
- Malcolm Offord, a financier, is now a junior minister in the Scotland Office.
- Offord gave the party £15,000 during the 2019 general election, and £122,500 overall since 2007.
Boris Johnson has handed a life peerage and a ministerial post to a supporter who gave the Conservatives a total of £122,500 over the past 14 years.
Malcolm Offord, a Scottish-born city financier, is now a junior minister in the Scotland Office.
He is due to be made a member of the House of Lords upon its return from conference recess, the government announced Thursday along with his ministerial role.
The appointment drew criticism from the Scottish National Party (SNP), which runs the separate Scottish government.
In his new post at the Scotland Office, Offord is likely to work on UK central government response to the SNP campaign for independence, which Johnson’s administration opposes.
John Nicolson, the SNP’s shadow culture secretary, told Insider: “It is disappointing, though not surprising, to see yet again Boris Johnson reward a Tory donor with a seat in the Lords. Even worse, this Tory donor has been given ministerial office despite never having won an election.
“Scotland’s democracy is compromised by Tory behaviour. No politician should ever hold office without winning an election, nor should party donors ever be given a seat in the Lords for life.”
Offord gave the Conservatives £15,000 at the 2019 general election. His contributions to the party since 2007 total £122,500.
He also gave £2,500 to Michael Gove in 2009, who holds the new office of Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.
Offord also founded and gave £20,000 to the No Borders Campaign, an anti-independence campaign group during the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.
It is unclear what kind of pay Offord will receive for his role. If he doesn’t receive a ministerial salary, he will be able to claim £323 a day for attending the House of Lords.
Offord was a Conservative candidate in the Scottish Parliament’s elections in May 2021, and was in line to win a so-called “list” seat. The party got too few votes and he did not get a seat.
Nonetheless, his selection as a candidate prompted claims that he was being unfairly rewarded for his large donations, as the Edinburgh Evening News reported.
Offord’s ministerial appointment came days ahead of the Conservative Party Conference, at which major Tory donors are given free hotel rooms, openDemocracy reported.
Downing Street did not respond to an immediate request for comment.