A FORMER UK Government minister has shed light on the lack of purpose of the Scotland Office – confirming how little it matters to the prime minister and revealing that controversy over his unelected status stemmed from a decision by Ruth Davidson.

Lord Ian Duncan served as a junior minister at the Scotland office for two years but said there “wasn’t much to do”.

Duncan did not speak to prime ministers Theresa May or Boris Johnson even once while he was in the role.

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Baron Duncan of Springbank, who now serves as a deputy speaker in the House of Lords, has been a minister for climate change and in the Northern Ireland Office. He was also a Tory MEP for Scotland for three years.

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Saying the Scotland Office needed reform amid a total lack of purpose since devolution, he told Johnson he could not simply tell Scots to “shut your pie hole”.

Speaking to the Institute for Government for its Ministers Reflect project, which is being released today, Lord Duncan said: “I don’t think the territorial offices work. If you think about how they were constructed, post-devolution, that was not how they were intended to be.”

He said that the argument that the Scotland Secretary was supposed to be Scotland’s voice in the Cabinet was concerning, explaining: “I’d be troubled if all the rest of the secretaries of state didn’t get Scotland enough on their own.

“Because if they don’t, doesn’t that make the SNP right?

“I don’t want to ever have a situation in which I need the secretary of state in a particular department to only understand Scotland because the Scottish Secretary tells him that.

“I don’t mind there being a secretary of state for Scotland. I’m just more troubled by the fact that the other departments themselves broadly would lay claim to paying attention to the Union... Up to a point, but not really. That’s the problem.

“I think the Scotland Office probably needs to be reconfigured to be more effective.”

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Duncan also pointed the finger at now Baroness of Lundin Links Ruth Davidson over controversy when he was chosen for the role.

The former MEP was picked by the then Scottish Tory leader to take up the ministerial post in 2017 despite there being 13 Scottish Tory MPs.

He said: "The Scottish Conservative Party went from one MP to 13. But again, none of them became under-secretary of state for Scotland. That was me, the unelected one.

"But even within the ranks of that group, I think there were certain eyebrows raised about 'Why would it be that we don’t have the experience to undertake this role, but he does apparently?'"

Duncan hit the headlines in 2019 when we revealed that he had met with the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland ahead of a key Brexit vote at Westminster.

He argued that prior to devolution, the UK Government’s Scottish Office was “a hub, a hive of activity”, adding: “By the time devolution had reached its maturity, that wasn’t the case anymore. So, 75% of what had been the Scottish Office’s core functions had simply been removed.”