David Cameron in spotlight over two more peerages to Tory party donors


David Cameron has appointed 22 new political peers, including two big party donors, party treasurer Michael Farmer and Asian businessman Ranbir Singh Suri. Photograph: ELM/Rex Features

Courtesy of Patrick Wintour @ The Guardian:

David Cameron was embroiled in another cash for peerages row after he ennobled two big donors in a 22-strong list of new political peers.

The pair were the Conservative party treasurer Michael Farmer, who has given £5.9m to the party, and an Asian businessman, Ranbir Singh Suri, chairman of Oceanic Jewellers. Labour said that 13 peers created by Cameron since becoming prime minister were Tory donors, including Farmer and Suri. The 13 have collectively given the Tories more than £22m, Labour claimed.

Of the 22, there are 12 Conservative peers, six Liberal Democrats, three Labour and one Democratic Unionist. Half are women.

The Liberal Democrats now have over 100 peers for the first time since the late 1920s and face the prospect of boasting three times more seats in the Lords than MPs after the 2015 election. The political bloc has the ability to be a significant force in British politics after the election and it is likely to be supplemented by a further tranche of MPs in any dissolution honours list.

The most famous Conservative peers are Sir Stuart Rose, the former chief executive of Marks and Spencer, and Karren Brady, the vice-chairman of West Ham United, who is also small business ambassador for the Tories.

Other Tories granted peerages include Dido Harding, the chief executive of the broadband provider TalkTalk; Andrew Cooper, the Tory pollster, and Martin Callanan, former leader of the Tory MEPs and the European Conservatives and Reformists group.

A peerage has also been given to Carlyn Chisholm, the co-chairman of the Conservative candidates’ committee; Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network, the charity supporting groups wanting to set up free schools; and Arminka Helic, the special adviser to the ex-foreign secretary, William Hague. Nosheena Mobarik, chairwoman of the Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum, has been rewarded for her work as advocate of ethic minorities in business. Another prominent Tory-supporting businesswoman, Joanna Shields, the prime minister’s digital adviser and chair of Tech City UK, is also elevated.

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