BORIS Johnson has boosted the Scotland Office with two new ministers, including a Scot who represents an English constituency.

A week on from Douglas Ross’s unexpected resignation as an Under Parliamentary Secretary of State over the Dominic Cummings row, the Prime Minister has appointed former whip Iain Stewart to hold the same position.

David Duguid will also take up the same role albeit in an unpaid capacity. The Banff and Buchan MP will, similarly, take up the job as an unpaid junior whip.

The fact that Mr Johnson, who also has the title of Minister for the Union, has given Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, two new colleagues in Dover House will be seen as a move to bolster the Government’s promotion of the Union north of the Border.

However, the appointment of Mr Stewart, 47, who represents Milton Keynes South, could well provide a target for the Government’s political opponents as two Scottish backbenchers, Andrew Bowie and John Lamont, have not been promoted.

Scots-born and raised in Hamilton, Mr Stewart trained as an accountant with a company in Milton Keynes in the early 1990s before moving to work for the Scottish Conservative Party as its Head of Research and then as its Director between 2001 and 2006.

He stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election for the Glasgow Rutherglen constituency and later, at the third attempt, became an MP for Milton Keynes at the 2010 General Election.

After becoming the Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Mundell, the then Scottish Secretary, in 2015, he took up the same post a year later for Liam Fox, the then Trade Secretary. He was appointed to his first Government role as a whip in 2018.

After the Cummings row broke, Mr Stewart issued a statement, saying he did not believe the No 10 aide had broken the lockdown rules in a “pre-meditated way”. While he understood the anger and frustration of many people, who had made personal sacrifices during the crisis, the Scot said the most important thing was to get on and tackle the coronavirus.

Mr Duguid, who was born in Aberdeenshire, was a BP engineer and a project manager for Hitachi Consulting before entering Parliament in 2017. He is regarded by his colleagues at Westminster as a champion of the local fishing industry.

Responding to the appointments, Mr Jack said: “It is great news that Iain Stewart and David Duguid have been appointed as UK Government Ministers for Scotland. Talented and experienced, they will both bring a great deal to government at this critical time.

“There are huge challenges and great opportunities ahead for Scotland. As we continue to tackle coronavirus and protect the public’s health, start to recover our economy, and look forward to a new relationship with the EU, we will make sure that Scotland’s interests are at the forefront.

“I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Douglas Ross for his very valuable contribution in his time as a minister and to wish him well for the future,” he added.

Mr Stewart said it was a “great honour” to have been appointed as “UK Government Minister for Scotland”.

He went on: “We are facing a global crisis and the UK Government is working tirelessly to tackle the pandemic in all parts of our country. We have stepped up to help Scottish businesses with financial support, furloughed millions of workers across the country, and supported the Scottish Government with £3.7 billion of extra funding.

“As we start to slowly ease the restrictions, our focus must be on continuing to keep our citizens safe but it must also be on beginning to recover Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and ensuring our future prosperity.”

He added: “I look forward to working with the ministerial team at the Scotland Office as part of a UK Government which is delivering for people in Scotland. I am very proud to be given the opportunity to make a contribution at such a vital time for our country.”

Meanwhile, Mr Duguid also said he was honoured to have been appointed to the Scotland Office.

“My focus will be very much on Scotland’s economy as we get things moving after the coronavirus pandemic. As part of that, I will continue to champion our transformative investment of more than £1.4bn in Scottish city and growth deals as we extend their cover to the whole of Scotland.

“Looking ahead, we will ensure that our new relationship with the EU works for Scotland, bringing new opportunities for many of our vital industries, including Scotland’s farmers. We will ensure that Scotland’s fishing industry has a bright future as we leave the unfair Common Fisheries Policy and become, once again, an independent coastal state,” he added.