LIZ Truss has appointed a Tory donor who founded a capital investment firm with Jacob Rees-Mogg as a trade minister.

The announcement that Dominic Johnson was made a Minister of State in the department of trade and the cabinet office was put up quietly on a government website on Sunday morning.

Johnson was a co-founder of Somerset Capital with Rees-Mogg, now the Business Secretary, in 2007. 

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The announcement read simply: "Dominic Johnson CBE was appointed a Minister of State jointly in the Department for International Trade and the Cabinet Office on 2 October 2022."

Johnson is set to be given a peerage in the House of Lords, which is currently under consideration by King Charles.

A note at the bottom of a lengthy list of appointments made following the installation of Truss's new government reads: "His Majesty has also been pleased to signify His intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Dominic Johnson CBE."

According to The Times, Johnson was the second choice for the role, with Sir Nigel Wilson, the longstanding chief executive at Legal & General, turning down the position.

The National: Dominic Johnson will be given a peerage to allow him to take on the ministerial roleDominic Johnson will be given a peerage to allow him to take on the ministerial role (Image: UK Government) The 65-year-old was reportedly content to stay in his current position rather than joining the UK Government.

But Johnson, who has been a non-executive at the Department of International Trade since November 2020, was happy to take on the position amid the economic crisis caused by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's disastrous mini-budget. 

It is not clear exactly what Johnson's role will be, but it is thought to be minister for investment. 

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Johnson's appointment sparked corruption fears on social media.

The financier is not the first person the Tories have appointed as a peer in order to give them a government position. Malcolm Offord, who failed in his bid to become an MSP in the 2021 Holyrood elections and is also a party donor, was ennobled to allow him to take on a role in the Scotland Office in October last year. 

SNP Trade spokesperson Drew Hendry MP said:

"Liz Truss has been in office for just a few weeks but already the stench of cronyism around Westminster is more pungent than ever.

"While households across the country are terrified to open their bills as the cost of living spirals, the Prime Minister seems to spend more of her time courting Tory donors than taking action on the impending economic crisis of her own making.

"It says a lot about Liz Truss' confidence in her own back benches that once again she has turned to an unelected peer rather than giving the job to a hopeless Tory MP."

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman blasted the appointment.

She said: "The last thing we need is another Tory millionaire in a government that is only working for the bankers and the super-rich.

"It's not just the Tory Party that needs to change. It's the whole system that lets them get away with it.

"The very existence of the House of Lords is a democratic disgrace. This only underlines how antiquated, broken and unfit for purpose Westminster is.

"Nobody who makes these kinds of donations should ever be appointed to any legislative body, let alone being given a ministerial role."

Stephen Flynn, SNP MP for Aberdeen South, said: "Nothing screams democracy quite like an unelected Prime Minister appointing an unelected party donor to a senior role in Government."

One social media user wrote: "Amid the worst financial misjudgement and incompetence, this govt can now add nepotism to their weeks-old CV. We really don't deserve this."

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While another said simply: "More corruption..."

Johnson started Somerset Capital Management with Rees-Mogg, now a company worth $7 billion.

According to the UK Government website Johnson, who also has "responsibility for the Union" has spent the past 25 years working in entrepreneurial and international finance. 

He was also vice-chairman of the Tory party between 2016 and 2019. Between 2006 and 2021 he donated £338,391 to the Tories.

The financier was one of 16 Tory allies given paid 'independent' roles in Boris Johnson's government.