Saturday, June 20, 1998 Published at 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Labour's new Lords
Lord Bragg: supports reform of upper chamber
By BBC News Online's Nick Assinder.
Tony Blair has taken the first step towards dismantling the House of Lords by appointing a fistful of Labour supporters to the upper chamber.
In a widely leaked announcement, the Prime Minister created 18 new working Labour peers, including the well-known Labour supporter and broacaster, Melvyn Bragg, and the TV boss, Waheed Alli.
Mr Blair also included four Liberal Democrats and five put forward by the Conservative leader William Hague - including the former Tory Chancellor and Eurosceptic, Norman Lamont.
The move is the first step in the government's campaign to finally abolish the Lords and replace it with an elected second chamber.
The prime minister needed to create a bevvy of new working peers to balance the in-built Tory majority.
'Just call me Melvyn'
Lord Bragg, the 58-year-old presenter of ITV's flagship arts programme, The South Bank Show, has been head of arts at London Weekend Television since 1982, and was made a multi-millionaire by the LWT flotation.
He welcomed his peerage but urged people to keep calling him Melvyn instead of referring to him by his new title.
"It's going to take a bit of getting used to," he admitted.
He confirmed that as a Labour peer he was preparing to vote for the abolition of his hereditary colleagues as part of constitutional reform.
Lord Alli is managing director of Planet 24 Television, one of Britain's most successful production companies.
At the age of 34, Alli, who launched the Big Breakfast Show for Channel 4, is said to be worth £10m.
Norman Lamont's name was absent from John Major's resignation honours list last year.
Lord Lamont had also bitterly criticised Mr Major's style of leadership describing the Tory government as being "in office but not in power".
Commenting on his elevation to the Lords, he said: "The Lords is going to be a very interesting place in the immediate future.
"I look forward to playing an active part there. I shall continue to speak on Europe and strongly to fight the single currency."
Tory PR guru 'thrilled'
He said: "I am very delighted, very flattered and very thrilled. I hope to be able to help William Hague to become prime minister.
"I have no doubt that I will find myself helping the Conservative Party view of the reform of the House of Lords, which is to oppose it."
The full list of new peers is:
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