Cameron in cash-for-peerages row

David Cameron is at the centre of a cash-for-peerages row

Former Marks and Spencer store chief Sir Stuart Rose is among 12 new Conservative working peers appointed by David Cameron

Karren Brady has been made a Conservative peer

First published in National News © by

David Cameron is at the centre of a cash-for-peerages row following the appointment of two wealthy Tory backers to the House of Lords.

Financier and party co-treasurer Michael Farmer and businessman Ranbir Suri are among 12 new Conservative working peers announced today by the Prime Minister.

According to an analysis by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), which campaigns for an elected upper chamber, Mr Farmer has donated more than £6.5 million to the Conservatives.

Mr Singh, a former general secretary of the Board of British Sikhs, has contributed a further £312,435 - either personally or through his company Oceanic Jewellers, the ERS said.

ERS chief executive Katie Ghose said such appointments meant wealthy political donors were effectively able to buy a place in the legislature.

"These appointments further cement the impression that to get into the House of Lords, all you have to do is write a fat cheque to a political party or be a party hack," she said.

"The second chamber is a crucial part of our political system, with real legislative power. It cannot be right that people are effectively able to buy a seat at the highest level of politics."

The Tories strongly defended the appointment of Mr Farmer, describing him as a "worthy recipient" of a peerage.

"He has been involved in numerous charities and is co-founding sponsor of a successful academy chain school in south London," a Tory source said.

The party pointed out that in the past, wealthy Labour donors had been made peers including Lord Sugar and Lord Sainsbury.

The ERS said that of the 21 new working peers appointed by the three main political parties, six had made donations to them - either directly to the party or to individual candidates - while 16 had held some form of previous political position.

It said that of the new Liberal Democat peers, Barbara Janke, former leader of Bristol City Council, has donated £5,498, while ex-Sheffield City Council leader Paul Scriven has given £2,000.

On the Labour side, ex-East Enders actor Michael Cashman has donated £2,500 while the publisher and chair of Penguin Random House, Dame Gail Rebuck, has given £2,000.

The ERS pointed out that Dame Gail's late husband, Labour peer Lord Gould, had also previously made donations totalling £31,250.

In other appointments, businesswoman and West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady and former Marks and Spencer store chief Sir Stuart Rose have been nominated as Conservative peers.

They are joined by Andrew Cooper, Mr Cameron's former director of strategy who left No 10 after reportedly falling out with other members of his inner circle, and former Tory leader in the European Parliament Martin Callanan.

TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding, Mr Cameron's digital adviser Joanna Shields, and director of the New Schools Network charity Natalie Evans also join the Conservative ranks in the Lords.

The Tory list is completed by Arminka Helic, the Government's leading adviser on preventing sexual violence in conflict, Nosheena Mobarik, a former chairman of CBI Scotland and chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum, and Carlyn Chisholm, a senior volunteer in the party.

For the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg has appointed the party's former chief executive Chris Fox, and former council leaders David Goddard from Stockport and Kath Pinnock from Kirklees. His list is completed by Cambridge academic and city councillor Julie Smith.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has appointed the party's former deputy secretary general Chris Lennie while the Democratic Unionists have nominated the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay, although he will sit in the Lords as an independent crossbencher.

Mr Farmer said he was " greatly honoured" to have been nominated by the Prime Minister to become a Conservative peer.

He said he was looking forward "to working and supporting the Government in the House of Lords, in particular in its important long-term work for the economy, and in its ongoing reform of our welfare and educational systems".

Comments (4)

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11:48am Fri 8 Aug 14

Counterview says...

Gongs all round. Will this nonsense ever end?
Gongs all round. Will this nonsense ever end? Counterview
  • Score: 2

5:26pm Fri 8 Aug 14

northern pig says...

Money opens doors and buys you a get out of jail free card if u look like going down. Re Bernie Eccleston. Wish i had some!!!
Money opens doors and buys you a get out of jail free card if u look like going down. Re Bernie Eccleston. Wish i had some!!! northern pig
  • Score: 1

8:40pm Fri 8 Aug 14

directtalk says...

Bribery on the part of the rich donors. Corruption on the part of the politicians. If it's not the politicians' rich acquaintances, it's the old pals act for the favoured boys and girls. It's the same old story. The cash for honours investigation which took place in 2007 was supposed to have sorted this shady behaviour out once and for all. All the political parties agreed to abide by the findings. That's all conveniently forgotten, it seems, as they are at it still.
Politicians were supposed to have put their house in order subsequent to the cash for honours investigation and the expenses inquiry, but gues what, they have since voted themselves huge pay & allowances rises, plus pensions increases, all of which are ring fenced & so are safeguarded from any outside interference, a protection which they deny the rest of the population. They are a despicable bunch who are so far removed from the rest of us that they think it's the norm to treat the electorate with utter contempt in the knowledge that there is nothing we can do about it. What a hypocritical immoral profession politics is. This is a total disgrace, these parasites have been elected by us, the public, to do a job for us and should be accountable to us. There has to be a system whereby the electors can recall their errant MP and force a bye election – and that includes the party leaders.
Words just fail me at the self-centred behaviour of our politicians have cleared their backsides in their cocoon of cloud cuckoo-land environment! So much for the leading lights of Labour and Conservatives and Libdems and the other independent parties, who have promised "to clean up the political scene" from the gross mess left behind by Blair. This act just entrenches the formality of the police state we are now entering in "Great" Britain. God help democracy.
I just hope and pray that the house of Lords will be flushed down the toilet where it belongs, just like the current house of commons promised at the last election. But guess what? They renaeged on that promise as well.
Bribery on the part of the rich donors. Corruption on the part of the politicians. If it's not the politicians' rich acquaintances, it's the old pals act for the favoured boys and girls. It's the same old story. The cash for honours investigation which took place in 2007 was supposed to have sorted this shady behaviour out once and for all. All the political parties agreed to abide by the findings. That's all conveniently forgotten, it seems, as they are at it still. Politicians were supposed to have put their house in order subsequent to the cash for honours investigation and the expenses inquiry, but gues what, they have since voted themselves huge pay & allowances rises, plus pensions increases, all of which are ring fenced & so are safeguarded from any outside interference, a protection which they deny the rest of the population. They are a despicable bunch who are so far removed from the rest of us that they think it's the norm to treat the electorate with utter contempt in the knowledge that there is nothing we can do about it. What a hypocritical immoral profession politics is. This is a total disgrace, these parasites have been elected by us, the public, to do a job for us and should be accountable to us. There has to be a system whereby the electors can recall their errant MP and force a bye election – and that includes the party leaders. Words just fail me at the self-centred behaviour of our politicians have cleared their backsides in their cocoon of cloud cuckoo-land environment! So much for the leading lights of Labour and Conservatives and Libdems and the other independent parties, who have promised "to clean up the political scene" from the gross mess left behind by Blair. This act just entrenches the formality of the police state we are now entering in "Great" Britain. God help democracy. I just hope and pray that the house of Lords will be flushed down the toilet where it belongs, just like the current house of commons promised at the last election. But guess what? They renaeged on that promise as well. directtalk
  • Score: 1

2:12am Mon 11 Aug 14

paulab1975 says...

I so can't stand this guy to the damage he's done what with him bringing bedroom tax and expecting mums with young children to work he makes me sick. He's deffo gonna get my vote to be voted out next year. He disgust me. Bring back Tony Blair
I so can't stand this guy to the damage he's done what with him bringing bedroom tax and expecting mums with young children to work he makes me sick. He's deffo gonna get my vote to be voted out next year. He disgust me. Bring back Tony Blair paulab1975
  • Score: 0
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