This morning, Downing Street announced the appointment of 22 new working peers – twelve Conservative, six Lib Dem, three Labour and one DUP.
The full list of new Tory peers is enclosed below, but here are a few to watch:
- Martin Callanan. It’s a shame that Cameron didn’t choose to send the former MEP to Brussels as our EU commissioner, but his elevation to the Lords is deserved recognition of his success in establishing and building the ECR group, and freeing Tory MEPs from stagnation in the federalist EPP. Everyone will expect him to take part in the debate over our EU relationship – but in Westminster, look out for him getting more involved on questions of North East policy, too.
- Natalie Evans. Plenty of people end up as peers simply by working their way up through party machines, but Evans chose to branch out from the safety of the apparatchiki – her work with the New Schools Network has helped to ensure that Free Schools aren’t just a policy, they are now a reality around the country. A peerage for making a positive difference to the lives and opportunities of thousands of children is a pretty good citation.
- Arminka Helic. As Paul noted this morning, the elevation of William Hague’s long-serving adviser to the House of Lords is another sign that while he is no longer Foreign Secretary, he remains a mighty influence on the Prime Minister and his inner circle.
- Andrew Cooper. He’s billed as a pollster in the official announcement, but that’s only half the story – as a former adviser at Number 10, Cooper played a major role in the Cameron modernisation project. Even after officially returning to Populus last October, he has continued to chip in on questions of public opinion and strategy.
There are certainly some good people on the list, but none of this changes the existing problems with the House of Lords and the system for appointments. Even if you think each of today’s appointments is a wise choice, we still have too many peers, chosen through a system which is unaccountable at best.
Here’s the full list of Conservative appointees:
Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board.
Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group.
Carlyn Chisholm – Senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidate’s Committee; former nurse.
Andrew Cooper – Former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus.
Natalie Evans – Director of New Schools Network, an independent educational charity established to provide free advice and support for groups wanting to set up free schools.
Michael Farmer – Founding Partner of RK Mine Finance Group; Trustee of the Kingham Hill Trust; Treasurer of the Conservative Party.
Dido Harding – Chief Executive of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC.
Arminka Helic – Government Special Adviser; leading adviser to Government on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Nosheena Mobarik CBE – Businesswomen; former Chairman of CBI Scotland; founder and Convener of the Scotland Pakistan Network; Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum.
Sir Stuart Rose – Former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks and Spencer PLC.
Joanna Shields OBE – leading technology industry executive and entrepreneur; the Prime Minister’s Digital Adviser; Chair of Tech City UK; and Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange.
Ranbir Suri – businessman; former General Secretary of the Board of British Sikhs.