THE millionaire financier and failed election candidate who was made a Scotland Office minister after donating almost £150,000 to the Tories has taken his seat in the House of Lords.

Malcolm Offord was introduced as Baron Offord of Garvel, of Greenock in the County of Renfrewshire this morning. 

He was given the life peerage in order to act as an unelected minister.

The SNP said it was "cronyism" and a bypassing of democracy.

Wearing full ermine, Lord Offord was introduced by Thatcherite former Scottish Secretary Lord Michael Forsyth and fellow businessman and Tory donor Lord Kirkham, founder of the DFS furniture chain.

In a brief ceremony, he swore the oath of allegiance to the Monarch then signed the Test Roll, the parchment book in which all new MPs and Lords put their names.

He said: “I Malcolm, Lord Offord of Garvel, do swear by almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law, so help me God.”

His ennoblement has proved highly controversial for the Scottish Tories, who are trying to position themselves as the party of Scotland’s working class. 

Boris Johnson overlooked two of his Scottish MPs to parachute Mr Offord into the Scotland Office as a minister after sacking Banff & Buchan MP David Duguid.

Mr Offord, 57, tried unsuccessfully to become an MSP at the recent Holyrood election, failing to secure the candidacy in Edinburgh Central, then failing to get elected as fifth on the Lothians list.

In 2014, Mr Offord set up the pro-union No Borders campaign to give ordinary people a chance to express their support for the Union, rather than leave it to politicians.

According to Electoral Commission records, he has given the Conservative party and its MPs £147,500 since 2007, as well as giving the No Borders campaign another £20,000.

Mr Offord has taken his title from part of his native Greenock, where he was state educated before studing law at Edinburgh University and moving into banking.

He has already started work as a minister, but today's ceremony means he is also now an active member of the upper house.

SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Pete Wishart MP said: "Voters across Scotland will be dismayed that, despite being rejected at the 2019 election, Malcolm Offord has secured a peerage and an unelected place in Boris Johnson’s government.

"It would seem that if you have deep pockets and are willing to help Boris Johnson and his cronies, you can bypass the democratic system. 

“Whether it’s handing out lucrative Covid contracts to friends and contacts, giving a Tory donor a peerage and appointing him to the Scotland Office, or stuffing the House of Lords with cronies - this Tory government is driven entirely by cronyism, self-interest, and sleaze.

"The Westminster system is broken beyond repair. The only way we can protect Scotland from the Tories - and finally rid ourselves of an undemocratic House of Lords - is by becoming an independent country.”