Ministerial role

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords) assists the Secretary of State for Wales in ensuring that the interests of Wales are recognised in Westminster, and that Westminster’s voice is heard in Wales.

Responsibilities include:

  • Immigration and Social Inclusion
  • Defence
  • Local Government
  • Localism
  • Education
  • Law and Order/ Justice

Current role holder: Lord Ian Duncan

Lord Ian Duncan was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office in June 2017.

Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Dr Duncan.


Ian holds a first-class honours degree in geology from St Andrews University and a doctorate in paleontology from Bristol University. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society. He interned at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. After completing his studies, he taught at Bristol University.


Ian began his professional career with BP where, as a researcher, he specialised in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics. He became Secretary of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation in 1999 and served with the Federation during the height of the cod crisis. His principal focus was EU relations and fisheries conservation. In 2004 he joined the Scottish Refugee Council as Head of Policy & Communication. In 2005 Ian became the first head of the Scottish Parliament’s EU Office in Brussels where he was responsible for relations between the Holyrood Parliament and the EU institutions. He held the post for five years, returning to Scotland to serve as European Advisor to the Scottish Parliament and Clerk to the European & External Relations Committee.

In 2014 Ian was elected to the European Parliament. There, he served on the Environment & Public Health (ENVI) Committee, the Industry, Research & Energy (ITRE) Committee, and the Fisheries (PECH) Committee, and as a member of the Special Committees investigating the ‘Diesel-gate’ scandal and the implications of the ‘Panama Papers’ leak. From 2014 – 2017 he was Vice President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with South Asia and member of the Delegation for Relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee and the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Ian served as Vice President of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, the Wine & Spirits Intergroup and the European Parliament Association.

Within the Conservative Group Ian was spokesman on Energy & Climate Change, and Fisheries. He was also the Chief Whip of the Conservatives in the European Parliament.

During his time in the Parliament, Ian’s primary focus was climate change. He was a Parliamentary delegate to the UN Climate Change Conferences (COP) in Lima (2014), Paris (2015) and Marrakech (2016). He was the Parliament’s rapporteur (lead negotiator) on reform of the EU’s carbon market legislation (the ‘Emission Trading Scheme’), the cornerstone of the EU’s climate change ambitions. The legislation completed its parliamentary journey in February 2017. He co-authored a further eight pieces of energy and climate-specific legislation. During his time in the European Parliament, he was ranked the 10th most influential MEP on environmental policy and the 6th most influential on energy policy (VoteWatch Europe).

Ian led the European Parliament delegation which observed the Catalan Referendum (2014).

Personal life

Ian is the Chair of the English Speaking Union (Scotland), a post he has held since 2014. He is also a board member of the Schwarzeneggar Institute (University of Southern California), established by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is a patron of LGBTory and of ThinkNorth.

Ian lives with his husband and cat in Edinburgh. In his spare time he paints and draws.

Previous holders of this role

  1. Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

    • 2015 to 2017
  2. Baroness Randerson

    • 2012 to 2015


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