Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 10:28 UK

Alan Sugar frustrated by The Apprentice delay

Lord Sugar in the House Of Lords
Lord Sugar is due back on the BBC now the election is over

Alan Sugar has questioned the decision to keep The Apprentice off the air during the General Election.

He said he was "frustrated" by the delay, because Andrew Lloyd Webber had been allowed to stay on TV, despite his vocal support for the Conservatives.

"We saw him in The Sun newspaper last week saying he backs Mr Cameron," noted Lord Sugar, who is the Labour Government's enterprise tsar.

Lord Sugar's latest BBC One show, Junior Apprentice, begins on Wednesday.

It will feature 16 and 17-year-old aspiring tycoons fighting to win access to a fund of £25,000, which will be controlled by Lord Sugar.

Conflict of interest

Last summer, the BBC Trust ruled Lord Sugar's government role did not lead to a conflict of interest - as long as safeguards were observed - after the Conservatives made a formal complaint.

The BBC then chose to delay the 2010 series of The Apprentice until after the election.

Of Lord Lloyd-Webber, the BBC said: "We advise prominent figures working with us to avoid intervening in the political debate at times like this.

"However, he is at liberty to express his opinions, which he has made no secret of in the past."

Lord Lloyd-Webber was quoted in The Sun last week, saying the Conservatives "represent our only hope when times get rough".

Unlike Lord Sugar, however, the theatre impresario has no official political role - despite his seat in the House Of Lords.

His talent search Over the Rainbow is reaching its final stages, with four contenders left in the competition, all hoping to win the leading role in Lord Lloyd-Webber's new musical based on the Wizard of Oz.

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