By Mark Wallace
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14 new Conservative Working Peers have just been announced by Downing Street. They are:
- Richard Balfe – the appointment of the former MEP is less to do with his work in the European Parliament as it is related to his role as David Cameron's envoy to the trade unions, suggesting an intention to reach out further to trade union tories.
- Sir Anthony Bamford - given his history as a party donor, Labour will inevitably try to cause a fuss about Sir Anthony's appointment, but he is also an industrialist, heading up a major exporter in the form of JCB. He memorably withdrew his name from the list of nominees for the Lords in 2010.
- Nick Bourne – a richly deserved thank you to the former leader of the Welsh Conservatives, who steered the party to repeated growth at Assembly elections before falling victim to his own success through a quirk in the electoral system which saw him lose his list seat due to the number of constituency victories.
- Matthew Carrington – this is an unpredicted appearance by the former MP, who represented Fulham between 1987 and 1997.
- Danny Finkelstein – familiar from his Times column and his more recent appointment as Chairman of Policy Exchange, he is a close ally of the Chancellor's. Finkelstein is widely tipped to become a minister in the Lords.
- Annabel Goldie MSP – like Nick Bourne, a nod of recognition to the party in Scotland, and thanks for her service in one of the most difficult jobs in Tory politics.
- Lady (Fiona) Hodgson – a senior figure in the voluntary party, including the Conservative Women's Organisation, she has long studied efforts around the world to engage female voters.
- Chris Holmes – Britain's most decorated paralympic swimmer, and more recently a key figure in the leadership of paralympic sport in the UK, he played a major part in delivering the successful 2012 Paralympic Games.
- John Horam – along with Richard Balfe, one of two former Labour elected representatives on today's Conservative list. Horam has extensive Parliamentary experience and may be offered a ministerial position in the Upper Chamber.
- Howard Leigh – as a former Treasurer of the Party, has played a major part in fundraising and business relations. He may, like Bamford, come in for some opposition fire for that reason.
- Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe – with experience in Downing Street and at a senior level in Tesco, Neville-Rolfe has a reputation for a fierce intellect and a good strategic mind – not someone opposition peers would look forward to locking horns with.
- Sir Stephen Sherbourne – as a former Political Secretary to Margaret Thatcher, Sherbourne's appointment is a clear nod to her legacy in the year of her death.
- Cllr Mike Whitby – the former leader of Birmingham City Council had early experience of coalition with the Lib Dems when he struck a deal with them to unseat Labour. Whitby brings extensive experience of local government, as well as midlands business connections, to the Chamber.
- Susan Williams – the ex-leader of Trafford Council missed out by less than 100 votes on overturning Labour's 12% majority in Bolton West, a bellweather seat at the last election.
It's just been pointed out to me by my predecessor, the encyclopaedic Jonathan Isaby, that three of these new peers featured in ConservativeHome's search for 100 new peers in 2009. They are Mike Whitby, Sir Stephen Sherbourne and Richard Balfe. This takes the total of those we nominated before the election who are now in the Lords up to 13.