MALCOLM Offord is set to step into a key government role in the Scotland Office despite failing to become an MSP in the Scottish parliamentary elections - but what are his credentials?

The Greenock-born Tory donor is set to take over from MP David Duguid once he has been made a life peer in the House of Lords despite being unelected, a move branded a “disgrace” by critics.

But what experience does the 57-year-old who has already been rejected by the Scottish electorate have?

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Why wasn’t he elected in May?

Offord stood on the regional list for the Tories in the Lothians during the Scottish Parliamentary elections earlier this year. The Tories overall vote share dropped by 3% (3623 votes) to 78,595, but three candidates were elected to Holyrood due to the D'Hondt voting system in place. As Offord was the fifth candidate on the list, he was not elected.

The National:

Offord was not elected because the Scottish Tories did not win enough votes in Lothian

Where was he educated?

According to his LinkedIn, Offord went to Greenock Academy between 1976 and 1982, before attending the University of Edinburgh to complete a Bachelor of Laws (LLB honours) between 1982 and 1987. He then moved to London after graduating to take on a role at investment banking and financing firm Lazard, where he worked for over six years. He also held financier roles at 3i Group, Bankers Trust and Charterhouse Capital Partners, before setting up his own firm.

His firm, Badenoch and Co, is based in Edinburgh and described as "a boutique investment office specialising in private equity and property with a focus on Scotland".

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What companies does he hold a directorship for?

Aside from Badendoch and Co, Companies House lists financier Offord as an active officer on 15 other firms at time of publication.

A further search of his history on Opencorporates revealed 52 inactive roles he has previously held across a number of firms. Three of the firms where Offord is listed as an director, unsurprisingly, are related to financial fund management activities.

However, he also holds a directorship role at Scottish Rugby Union Ltd, the governing body for rugby in Scotland, and a directorship at the firm behind The Borders Distiller, a Scotch whisky firm based in Hawick, Scottish Borders.

He further holds a directorship at Award Scheme Ltd, which produces and distributes promotional materials for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and at Cashmaster International Limited, a manufacturers of money counting machines, based in Dalgety Bay.

The National:

Offord is a trustee and donor of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, set up by Prince Phillip

Is he involved with any charities?

Offord is a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) Award, and his charity the Badenoch Trust, incorporated in 2007, is listed on the DoE website as a major donor.

The Charity Commission lists Offord, his personal assistant Valerie Tritton and London-based solicitor Louise Jane Stoten as trustees.

According 2020’s accounts, the Badenoch Trust had a gross income of £21,750, and an expenditure of £23,060. In 2019, the income was logged as £2, and the expenditure £13,800. The latest microcompany accounts from Companies House showed the trust had assets of £2762 in 2020, down from £4071 in 2019.

The National:

Offord's pro-union campaign group No Borders website has been hijacked by yessers

What was his involvement in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014?

Pro-UK campaign group No Borders was set up by Offord in May 2014 and launched a website claiming to “inject some positivity into the union” and was pitched at “ordinary Scots”.

It wasn’t long before the group came under criticism, and had to pull a cinema advert at the end of May 2014 after a complaint from a children’s hospital.

The advert featured two actors discussing the implications of independence, with one claiming Scots would need to join a "long list of foreigners waiting to be seen" at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The hospital said it did not endorse the message, and it was pulled.

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The group spent more than £460,000 throughout the independence campaign, and was one of the biggest spending groups on the No side. They were later fined £375 after failing to lodge their accounts on time with Companies House.

In a three-minute long puff piece by the BBC about the campaign group, Offord was filmed saying: “The union is the most successful merger of sovereign nations in the world, that allows them to remain distinctly Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh, but for the benefit of all the people and prosperity and safety they can pull together, and that’s what the Union is about.”

The National:

Offord has previously praised Alex Salmond during his tenure as First Minister

What has he said on SNP policy?

Offord has lots of links with Reform Scotland, a pro-Union Edinburgh based think-tank, including taking part in an interview with Chris Deerin on April 8 this year, which currently only has 127 views.

He also wrote a piece for the group in the same month about turbo-charging the economy and boosting growth in Scotland. In it, he stated that corporation tax should be devolved to “allow a pro-business administration to design a bespoke regime of incentives to encourage entrepreneurs, inward investment, business start-ups and thereby create more higher-rate taxpayers”.

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The SNP policy is that all taxes, including corporation tax, should be devolved to the Scottish Government.

He also said Alex Salmond was a "clever, brilliant politician" who had run a "very good administration" during his time as First Minister.

Does he live in Scotland?

No, despite beind a director on many Scottish-based firms, Offord changed his country of residence to England through Companies House on August 8, 2021.

What about his donations to the Tory party?

The National have already investigated Offord’s donations to the Tories. You can read the full report here.