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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
New working life peers unveiled
Sir Bill Morris
The former union boss is to be a life peer
Former TGWU boss Sir Bill Morris and ex-Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble are among 23 new life peers.

Downing Street has announced the list after weeks of controversy over peerages being granted to people who made secret loans to political parties.

Four men originally put forward by Tony Blair withdrew after it emerged that the independent body which scrutinises nominations had concerns about them.

None of those behind loans to Labour or the Tories is on the new list.

All of the new peers are "working life peers", in other words political party nominees rather than people chosen by the independent House of Lords Appointments Commission in recognition of their achievements.

Scotland Yard probe

Under the House of Lords reforms brought in six years ago party leaders are able to nominate a certain number of people each year to join their benches in the Lords, with Tony Blair having the final say.

Working peers are expected to make a "regular and substantial contribution" to the work of the upper house.

Claims that Labour was using peerages to reward those who lent it large sums of money in the run-up to the last election are being probed by Scotland Yard.

Six of the new peers will sit on Labour's benches, seven on the Tories', five are Lib Dems, one Ulster Unionist and three Democratic Unionists.

Restarting reform?

One of those on the list - Colin Boyd - will sit as an independent - crossbencher - as he has a quasi-judicial role as lord advocate in the Scottish Executive to fulfil.

Although none of the men behind the secret loans have been given peerages, five of the Conservatives' new working life peers have donated money.

They include party treasurer Jonathan Marland who has given 154,000 over recent years, Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, who has given 37,501 and David James, who drew up plans to slash Whitehall spending for the party, who has given 18,550.

The row over the original, longer, list of working peers has prompted Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer to start a review of how the House of Lords works and how its members are chosen.

State funding?

The prime minister appears to have dropped his opposition to some peers being elected and Parliament will again consider reforms later in the year.

Sir Bill Morris meanwhile called for an increased level of state funding of political parties in the wake of the row over alleged loans for peerages.

Asked about the row, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the incidents that you have just identified more than makes the case for a good constructive and in-depth debate and discussion and it is important to stress that state funding for political parties is not a new phenomenon.

"The fact of the matter is that parties now get some support, particularly parties that are in opposition."

The full list of working life peers is:

New baronesses:

Margaret Ford, chairman, English Partnerships; Margaret Jones, director of policy and public affairs, Unison; Denise Kingsmill, deputy chairman, Design Museum Eileen Paisley, vice-president, Democratic Unionist Party; Joyce Quin, former Labour minister and MP; Celia Thomas from the Lib Dem whips office in the Lords; Sandip Verma, founder of Domiciliary Care Services UK.

New barons:

Colin Boyd, lord advocate, Scottish Executive; Keith Bradley, former Labour minister and MP; Wallace Browne, lord mayor of Belfast; John Burnett, former Lib Dem MP; Brian Cotter, former Lib Dem MP; David James, chairman, Litigation Control Group; Charles Leach, director, Jardine Matheson Holdings; John Lee, non-executive director, Emerson Developments (Holding) Ltd; Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman, Local Government Association; Jonathan Marland, ex-director, Jardine Lloyd Thompson plc; Sir Bill Morris, former general secretary of the TGWU; Councillor Maurice Morrow, chairman, DUP; Mohamed Sheikh, chairman, Conservative Muslim Forum; John Taylor, director, Taylors Bulbs, Spalding; Robin Teverson, director of finance, South West; David Trimble, ex-leader UUP.




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