Huffpost UK Politics uk

Alistair Carmichael, New Scottish Secretary, Wanted To Abolish His New Department

Posted: Updated:
ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael speaks at the Liberal Democrats annual party conference at the ICC in Birmingham. | PA

Does the new Scottish Secretary support the existence of his own department?

Alistair Carmichael's appointment as Scottish Secretary, replacing Michael Moore, was the headline announcement in the government reshuffle on Monday morning.

It puts the Lib Dem in charge of a department he once said should be abolished and merged with the Northern Ireland and Welsh Offices.

In 2007 he highlighted the number of officers it employs, and the amount it spent on stationery and hospitality.

In a Lib Dem press release, Carmichael, the party's Scottish spokesman at the time, said: "As tensions between Westminster and Holyrood grow, the Scotland Office appears to be more concerned with hosting soirées than communicating with Edinburgh.

“Employing twenty staff to write an average of two official letters each year is indefensible.

“The Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices should merge to create a Department for Nations and Regions, with a full time seat at the Cabinet table.”

The job puts Carmichael on the front line in the fight against Alex Salmond's push for Scottish independence, ahead of next year's referendum.