Monday, 11 April 2016

Elevation to peerage of Lord Advocate Colin Boyd

[What follows is excerpted from a report published in The Herald on this date in 2006:]

Colin Boyd, the lord advocate, was yesterday made a working peer in the House of Lords, fuelling the debate about the independence of his role as head of the prosecution service in Scotland.
Questions were also asked of his ability to carry out this new function while still retaining his other role as legal adviser within the Scottish Cabinet.
There was confusion over the status of Mr Boyd, with the Crown Office stating that he would become a Labour working peer, while Downing Street said that he would sit as a crossbencher.
Mr Boyd said: "It is a great honour, both personally and professionally, to be appointed to serve in the House of Lords. I look forward to playing an effective role in policy-making for the UK, especially in relation to Scottish affairs.
"In particular, I will be in a position to make a significant contribution to debate on reserved issues which affect Scotland. The ability to represent in the House views which are relevant to my duties as a Scottish law officer is welcome, and I will take all opportunities to make useful contribution to debate in this regard.
"I remain firmly committed to the full-time role of lord advocate, leading the Crown Office and procurator-fiscal service, and seeing through the programme of reform I initiated four years ago. I see the appointment to the House of Lords as a natural extension of my duties as lord advocate."
Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader at Holyrood, said: "The role of lord advocate is already too political by being in Cabinet, I fear this may make it worse. The time has come for the lord advocate to become genuinely independent of politics and not a member of the Cabinet."
David Mundell, the Tories' shadow Scottish secretary, said: "This shows the complete contempt Labour has for the House of Lords and the institutions of democracy. Either Colin Boyd is a member of the government or he is a crossbencher - he can't be both."
[RB: It was Colin Boyd who as Lord Advocate, after consulting other members of the prosecution team, made to the Lockerbie trial court the false assertion that there was nothing in the CIA Giaka cables that could assist the defence in their cross-examination of the Libyan defector. This incident forms the basis of one of the allegations of criminality in the Lockerbie investigation, prosecution and trial that are currently under investigation by Police Scotland.]

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