Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 15:49 UK

'Peerage urged' for TV's Allsopp

Kirstie Allsopp
Kirstie Allsopp advises the Tories on housing

Senior Conservative figures are pushing for TV property expert Kirstie Allsopp to be awarded a peerage if the party wins the next election, it is claimed.

Public Affairs firm Mandate has drawn up a list of people it says the Tory leadership will be urged to ennoble.

Among the other names mentioned are M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose, world wide web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee and former Prime Minister Sir John Major.

But a Tory spokesman dismissed the findings as "pure speculation".

Mandate says it spoke to more than 50 senior Conservative MPs, advisers and commentators at the party's annual conference in Manchester.

'Populist touch'

Other figures on its list include environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, retiring Tory MP Ann Widdecombe and David Ross, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse.

Another to be mentioned - whose proposed peerage is already known - is the former chief of the defence staff Sir Richard Dannatt, who has agreed to advise the party.

the Conservatives are planning to use Lords appointments to sprinkle some star dust
Fiona Mason, PR manager

Ms Allsopp, who co-presents Channel 4's Location, Location, Location, already advises the Conservative Party on housing policy.

The report says that, "famed for her pashminas", her elevation to the House of Lords "would add a populist touch to proceedings".

Mandate's managing director of political affairs, Fiona Mason, said: "As they prepare for a difficult first year in power, the Conservatives are planning to use Lords appointments to sprinkle some star dust on their front bench.

"David Cameron is keen to bring to the fore a range of policy and technical experts who have stronger knowledge of the wider world than many of his MPs.

"Through a number of discussions with senior Conservatives, Mandate has a clear view of the Tory leadership's plans to create a large number of new peers at the start of a new Conservative government.

"The exact figures of people to be elevated will depend on agreement with the Labour Party about the number of Labour peers that will also be created at the same time.

"But David Cameron wants at least 20 high-profile new Tory peers to boost his new government."

But a Conservative spokesman told the BBC: "This is pure speculation."

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