DOUGLAS Ross has denied that Tory donor Malcolm Offord “bought” his peerage and new role in the Scotland Office.

The Scottish Tory leader was probed on the Prime Minister’s appointment of Offord to the House of Lords after he failed in his bid to become an MSP at the Holyrood elections in May.

Greenock-born financier, 57, is to be given a life peerage by Boris Johnson, and he will then take over from David Duguid MP, who lost his role at the Scotland Office during the Prime Minister’s reshuffle.

Offord has given a staggering £147,500 to the Tories between 2007 and 2019, including £2500 to Michael Gove.

READ MORE: Malcolm Offord: Who is the Tory donor made Scotland Office minister?

The BBC’s Martin Geissler probed the Tory leader on the appointment on The Sunday Show, where he also defended the incoming cut to the £20 Universal Credit uplift which is set to plunge thousands of Scottish children into poverty.

Geissler asked: “Did Mark [Malcolm] Offord buy his peerage?”

To which Ross responded quickly: “No.”

Geissler asked how the appointment came about, and if the thousands of donations he made to the Tories helped.

Ross said: “I assume you mean Malcolm Offord. He was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve in government and that’s the decision of the Prime Minister, just like who sits in Nicola Sturgeon’s cabinet and government is a choice for her.”

Geissler pointed out that Offord is not a politician, and in fact had tried to become an MSP running fifth on the Tories regional list in Lothian in May, but the “electorate didn’t want him”.

Ross said: “Well, because there are two chambers in the UK Parliament both in the House of Lords and the House of Commons and there are ministers in both.”

Asked what qualifies Offord for the job, Ross said: “The Prime Minister has looked at his business experience, considerable business experience in Scotland, and thinks that would be a very positive addition to the Scotland Office.

“As I say that’s a decision for the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister knows Malcolm is someone who will get out, engage with the Scottish business community, and they need that from the UK Government because they’re not getting any engagement from the Scottish Government who are one of the most anti-business governments anywhere in Europe.”

READ MORE: UK Government refuses to reveal details about Union Unit replacement

Geissler then pointed out that Johnson could have made the appointment from those Scottish Tories who were elected and voted in but clearly didn’t “think they fit the bill”.

He said: “What does that say about your colleagues that he brought someone in from the outside?”

Ross replied: “There has to be a representative of the Scotland Office in the House of Lords that’s how these different departments work, Lord Younger has been doing it for some time, so it’s important that when Scottish issues are debated in the House of Lords there’s a Scotland Office minister to respond to that just as the Scottish Secretary and the minister in the Scotland Office can do so in the Commons.”

The National:

SNP MP Stewart Hosie (pictured) said: “Despite the desperate attempts by Douglas Ross and the Tories to defend the appointment of the unelected Malcolm Offord, the reality is that cronyism is at the core of this Tory government.

“Why get elected through an election when you can just buy your way to the top table of this broken Tory government?

“The real embarrassment for Douglas Ross and his Scottish Tory colleagues is that Boris Johnson thinks so little of them that he’d rather appoint an unelected Tory donor than a Tory MP.”