Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 15:49 UK

Tycoon Sugar takes seat in Lords


Baron Sugar of Clapton takes his seat in the House of Lords

Businessman Sir Alan Sugar has taken his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Sugar of Clapton.

The tycoon and star of the BBC TV series The Apprentice was ennobled by Gordon Brown last month and handed the advisory post of enterprise tsar.

The Tories say he cannot work for the BBC and government at the same time, saying he must choose between them.

Lord Sugar, who will take the Labour whip in the Lords, says his role is to advise firms through the recession.

Apprentice row

As he was introduced to the Lords, Lord Sugar was flanked by business minister Lady Vadera and trade minister Lord Davies.

He is expected to work closely with the two in his new role - a change from being flanked by sidekicks Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford in the television series.

Gordon Brown named the businessman, who sold his Amstrad business in 2007, as the government's enterprise champion last month.

He will advise both business and government in the unpaid role, focusing on helping small firms get access to loans and to help them get their message across to policymakers and larger suppliers.

His appointment remains controversial, with the Conservatives saying the job he is being asked to do is highly political.

They argue it is incompatible with BBC guidelines on impartiality and independence.

They are particularly concerned that a future series of The Apprentice could be broadcast around the time of a possible election next year.

Lord Sugar said last month that the role was "politically neutral" while ministers have stressed it would not result in a conflict of interest as it was non-political.

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