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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Honour for prosecutor causes row
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd
Colin Boyd became lord advocate in February 2000
Scotland's top prosecutor Colin Boyd QC is to be made a member of the House of Lords, it has been revealed.

Mr Boyd is currently the lord advocate in Scotland but the post does not automatically come with a peerage.

The award has been criticised by opposition politicians who claim it will make the head of the independent judicial system more political.

Mr Boyd is head of the prosecution service and is also the Scottish Executive's senior legal adviser.

He will become a life peer along with 22 others on the honours list released by Downing Street on Tuesday.

The new appointment will see Mr Boyd sit on the non-party political cross-benches in Westminster as he has a quasi-judicial role.

'Natural extension'

Mr Boyd described the award as a "great honour, both personally and professionally".

He added: "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."

The lord advocate added: "I see the appointment to the House of Lords as a natural extension of my duties as lord advocate, and a development which will allow me to represent Scotland's interests at home and at UK level."

This is appropriate and welcome recognition for Scotland's lord advocate
Jack McConnell
First minister

Criticism of the lord advocate's dual role as head of Scotland's independent legal system and legal adviser to Jack McConnell's cabinet has been fuelled by the Shirley McKie case.

The SNP has argued that it was wrong for the same person to be responsible for her prosecution, and part of a government which awarded her 750,000 compensation.

The party's leader at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon, said the life peerage "would make a role which is already too political even worse".

'Cannot be both'

The Conservatives also criticised the appointment.

David Mundell MP, shadow secretary of state for Scotland, said the move "showed Labour's contempt for the House of Lords".

"Either Colin Boyd is a member of the government or he is a crossbencher - you cannot be both," he said.

However, First Minister Jack McConnell said Mr Boyd would make an outstanding contribution for Scotland in the House of Lords.

He said: "This is appropriate and welcome recognition for Scotland's lord advocate.

"Over the last six years, Colin Boyd has led an ambitious programme of reform to strengthen our prosecution service and he has proven himself to be a moderniser in the Scottish legal system in general."


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See more information about the row



SEE ALSO:
New working life peers unveiled
11 Apr 06 |  UK Politics
Rory killer's bail move defended
14 Mar 06 |  Scotland
McKie prosecution move defended
17 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Call to clear up Lockerbie doubt
28 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Crown to offer case explanations
10 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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