Boris Johnson has once more come under fire for fostering a culture of cronyism at the heart of government, after handing a life peerage and ministerial job to a rich Tory donor.
Banker Malcolm Offord will be able to sit in the House of Lords for life, despite never being elected – and he’ll immediately take up a role as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scotland Office.
Offord – the founder and chair of Scotland-based firm Badenoch and Co. – has handed £147,500 to the Conservative party, donating to prominent figures like Michael Gove.
His appointment could spark anger as the Tories head to Manchester for its annual conference this weekend, as several Scottish Conservative MPs were passed over for the ministerial job.
Offord had run for election in Holyrood elections earlier this year, but failed in his bid to become an MSP.
A Labour source told the Mirror: “In some sense this is to be welcomed. No longer the pretence of having to WhatsApp a Minister to win a contract you aren’t qualified for.
“Instead we see the more honest approach – if you just give the Conservative Party enough of your money they’ll pay you back with some of the public’s.
“This is cronyism which would shame a banana republic.”
Earlier this year Boris Johnson has appointed a university friend to an independent sleaze watchdog that advises him on ethics in public life.
The government insists that the prime minister’s decision to give Ewen Fergusson a seat on the Committee on Standards in Public Life was an “open and fair competition”.
According to multiple reports, the pair know each other from their days at Oxford University, where both belonged to the Bullingdon Club, a notorious elite dining society of which former prime minister David Cameron was also a member at the same time.
Labour strongly criticised the appointment of the City lawyer, citing it as an example of “Conservative cronyism”.