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Dissolution Honours: John Prescott made a peer

28 May 10 19:56 GMT

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is to become a member of the House of Lords.

Mr Prescott, who is no longer an MP, was Tony Blair's deputy for 10 years.

Former Northern Ireland first minister Ian Paisley, ex-Tory leader Michael Howard and Gordon Brown's long-serving aide Sue Nye were also given peerages.

Others in the Dissolution Honours are ex-police chief Sir Ian Blair, Helen Newlove, whose husband Garry was killed in 2007, and TV's Floella Benjamin.

The Dissolution Honours are announced at the end of every Parliament and include working peers nominated to represent each of the main parties, as well as a special dissolution list which allows outgoing prime ministers to reward former colleagues.

Gordon Brown's 56 recommendations include former Labour ministers John Reid, Des Browne, John Hutton and Quentin Davies - the former Tory MP who defected to Labour.

Other Conservatives include the former chairman of the party's influential 1922 Committee Sir Michael Spicer and, on the working peers list, Next's chief executive Simon Wolfson.

New Liberal Democrat peers include former MPs Richard Allan, Matthew Taylor and Phil Willis and working peers include former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken MacDonald.

Mr Prescott, who stepped down as an MP after 37 years at the general election, once indicated he would not follow in the footsteps of other former Labour figures who have left the Commons and joined the Lords - like Lords Kinnock and Hattersley - reportedly saying: "I don't want to be a member of the House of Lords. I will not accept it."

But the 71-year-old responded to his appointment on his Labour blog on Friday, saying: "I welcome the opportunity to continue to campaign in Parliament for jobs, social justice and the environment as well as to hold this Con-Lib government to account."

Victims' rights

Peter Robinson, who succeeded Ian Paisley as leader of the DUP and Northern Ireland First Minister, said Mr Paisley's peerage was "well-deserved" after a "long and illustrious political career".

"An entire generation of Unionists were inspired to enter frontline politics by Ian Paisley," he said.

"He is a giant of politics in Northern Ireland and throughout the United Kingdom. I know that he will continue to fight for unionist principles and the people of Ulster in the upper chamber."

Fellow recipient Sue Nye, who will join the Lords for the Labour Party, found herself in the spotlight during the election campaign when Mr Brown appeared to blame her for his encounter with Gillian Duffy - the Rochdale pensioner he was recorded privately calling "bigoted".

Mr Brown, who forgot to remove a microphone, was overheard saying: "They should never have put me with that woman, whose idea was that? It was Sue's I think."

Victims' rights campaigner Mrs Newlove, whose husband Garry was kicked to death by drunken teenagers outside his home in Warrington three years ago, said she hoped to use her position as Tory peer to speak for law-abiding citizens.

"I'm overwhelmed at this honour," she said. "I am just an ordinary woman, propelled into high profile by a set of horrifying circumstances which I wish with all my heart had never occurred."

Meanwhile, relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes have said they were "disgusted" to learn of the ennobling of Sir Ian Blair - who is set to become a Lords crossbencher.

Sir Ian was commissioner at Scotland Yard in 2005 when the 27-year-old Brazilian was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot seven times by counter-terrorist officers on a Tube train.

The victim's family said the former police chief's peerage was a "final slap in the face".

Vivian Figueiredo, Mr de Menezes cousin, said: "We are disgusted at this decision.

"As commissioner, we believe Ian Blair was ultimately accountable for the death of Jean, for the lies told and the cover-up."

Those named in the lists do not officially become peers until they have been sworn in.

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