AN UNELECTED Tory donor has said he is "proud" to have been made a peer and a minister in the Scotland Office.

Malcolm Offord, now Lord Offord of Garvel, was speaking to MPs at the Scottish Affairs Committee this afternoon when he defended his appointment.

Lord Offord also defended his large donations to the Conservative party when challenged by the SNP.

The peer was asked by the committee chairman Pete Wishart if he was not 'embarrassed' about being made a junior minister, having mounted a failed election bid to Holyrood in May.

The SNP MP said: "Is there not a slight bit of embarrassment given that you stood for democratic election only a few months ago and you were unsuccessful?

"All of a sudden you find yourself ennobled, put into one of the most absurd legislatures in the world with 800-or-so members, and you're now a member of government...How do you feel about that?"

Lord Offord responded that it was a "great honor" and added: "I'm pleased to be selected, if not elected, because none of the Lords, as you know, are elected."

He continued: "I don't see there's any anomaly there whatsoever. It's a great honor and privilege for me to be involved.

"And all government departments have a Lords minister.

"There is a Lords Minister required to help take legislation through Parliament and it seems to be only right that the Scotland Office has the same ability."

Lord Offord, an Edinburgh financier, ran the pro-Union No Borders campaign in 2014 during the independence referendum.

He has also donated more than £135,000 to the Conservative Party since 2007, and gave £2,500 to MP Michael Gove in 2019.

When challenged on whether his donations had any connection to his appointment, the peer said: "It's a matter of record that I have given donations to the Conservative party over 15 years when I was not politically active. That's on the record, that's completely transparent. And I'm proud to have done that.

"I have a personal view that political parties should not be state funded, should not be taxpayer funded.

"I believe they should stand and fall on their own merits. The Labour Party is funded largely by trade unions, the Conservative party's largely funded by individuals and the SNP is funded by crowdfunding."