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Holyrood is to lose the contribution of Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, as he relinquishes his Scottish Government role for a new job in the UK Government.

Mr Cameron becomes an under-secretary of state in the Scotland Office and swaps the pale wooden seating of the Holyrood debating chamber for the ancient red leather of the House of Lords.

To facilitate the transition from Holyrood to Westminster, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has arranged for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP to become Lord Cameron, earning him his seat in the House of Lords.

On Friday (9 February) the Prime Minister’s office announced: “The King has been pleased to approve the following appointment: Donald Cameron MSP as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office.

“His Majesty has been pleased to confer a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Donald Cameron.”

Donald Cameron has served as a list member of the Scottish Parliament since 2016, representing the Highlands and Islands region.

He last spoke at Holyrood on Wednesday last week (7 February) when he introduced a debate celebrating the achievements of Dunoon Grammar School.

Since then the King has conferred a life peerage on him, and he has been appointed a UK Government minister, a transformation that would boggle most of us, but which he seems able to take in his stride.

That was confirmed on Saturday by Spectator columnist Stephen Daisley, who wrote: “In raising Donald Cameron to the peerage and appointing him parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, the Prime Minister has poached one of the sharpest minds in the Scottish Parliament.

“Cameron has … distinguished himself with forensic speeches dissecting SNP government legislation, drawing on his experience as an advocate.

“Even opponents struggle for a bad word to say about him, an uncommon state of affairs in the bitter and tribal world of Scottish politics.”

As if to illustrate that point, Mr Cameron’s departure was described by John Swinney MSP as ‘a big loss to the Scottish Parliament.’

The former deputy first minister tweeted: “Mr Cameron is a courteous, engaged Parliamentarian whose contributions were always worth hearing and I will miss that. I hope his approach changes that of the current Scotland Office.”

Among his other supporters are members of Clan Cameron, where he is recognised as the 28th lochiel (clan chief) of Clan Cameron.

Celebrating his elevation to the Lords are members of Clan Cameron Manawatu in New Zealand and Clan Cameron in Australia, who posted: “Our hearty congratulations to Lochiel.”

Replacing Mr Cameron at Holyrood is Moray councillor Tim Eagle, who was a Scottish Conservative candidate on the Highlands and Islands list and placed 5th in the 2021 election.

Mr Eagle is a farmer and former police officer, served as a Moray councillor from 2017-22 and is now a Highlands and Islands MSP.

Donald Cameron is pictured speaking in Holyrood in a recent debate, and at the Isle of Harris Distillery during a visit to Harris in 2022. Also pictured is Cllr Tim Eagle (right) with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross MSP (left) and Fochabers councillor Marc Macrae at a public meeting in 2020.