Thirty new peers to enter House of Lords

A former New Statesman blogger, the first Green peer, and a fridge magnate are amongst those ennobled.

Number 10 has announced the thirty people upon whom the Queen is bestowing peerages this summer. The Conservative Party gets 14 new peers, Labour gets five, the Liberal Democrats get ten, and the Green Party gets one. London Assembly member Jenny Jones will become the first Green peer since Timothy Beaumont died in 2008, and is the first to be awarded her peerage as a working member of the Green party.

Amongst the Conservative peers are Danny Finkelstein, the Times' associate editor; former MPs Matthew Carrington and John Horam; Paralympian Chris Holmes; and Lucy Neville-Rolfe, a former executive at Tesco. Anthony Bamford, the managing director of JCB who has personally donated around £100,000 to the party, and overseen more donations from his company, is also given a peerage. With these 14 members, the Conservative party overtakes Labour to become the biggest party in the Lords, with 222 members to Labour's 221.

The Lib Dem peers include former New Statesman blogger Olly Grender, former London Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, the co-founder of Ministry of Sound James Palumbo, and former MP and treasurer of the party Ian Wrigglesworth.

The five Labour peers are Charles Allen, a non-executive director of LOCOG; Scottish fridge magnate William Haughey; Alicia Kennedy, the former deputy general secretary of the party; Doreen Lawrence, a campaigner for racial equality and lobbyist Jon Mendelsohn.

No cross-bench peerages were awarded. Already, UKIP is kicking up a fuss about not being included on the list, releasing a statement saying that "this is the establishment rewarding the establishment for being the establishment."

The full list of peerages is as follows:

Conservative Party

  • Richard Balfe – former MEP and Conservative Party Envoy to the Trade Unions and Cooperative movement
  • Sir Anthony Bamford DL - Chairman and Managing Director of JCB
  • Nicholas Bourne – former Leader of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly for Wales
  • Matthew Carrington – former Conservative MP
  • Daniel Finkelstein OBE – Associate Editor of The Times and former Head of Policy for the Conservative Party
  • Annabel Goldie DL MSP – Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament; former Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
  • Lady (Fiona) Hodgson CBE – campaigner on women’s issues; senior member of the Conservative voluntary Party; former Chairman of the Conservative Women’s Organisation
  • Christopher (Chris) Holmes MBE – former Paralympic swimmer; Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012; Non-Executive Director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and a former Non-Executive Director of the Disability Rights Commission
  • John Horam – former MP; Conservative representative on the Electoral Commission
  • Howard Leigh - senior corporate finance professional; Conservative Party Treasurer. Former Chairman and current President of Westminster Synagogue; former Trustee of Jewish Care and current Chairman of Jewish Care’s Business Group; Trustee of the Jerusalem Foundation in the UK.
  • Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe CMG – former senior civil servant, including No10 Policy Unit; former leading Executive at Tesco Plc
  • Sir Stephen Sherbourne – longstanding political career in Westminster and public affairs, including former Political Secretary to the then Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher), and former Chief of Staff to the then Leader of the Opposition (Michael Howard)
  • Michael (Mike) Whitby – Conservative Councillor in Birmingham; former Leader of Birmingham City Council
  • Susan Williams – former Councillor and Leader of Trafford Council

Green Party

  • Jenny Jones AM – member of the London Assembly; former Chair of the Green Party of England and Wales and former Deputy Mayor of London

Labour Party

  • Sir Charles Allen CBE - Non-Executive Director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; Chairman of Global Radio Group
  • Sir William Haughey OBE - prominent Scottish businessman and CEO of City Refrigeration Holdings
  • Alicia Kennedy - former Deputy General Secretary of the Labour Party
  • Doreen Lawrence OBE - campaigner for justice, race equality and better policing
  • Jonathan (Jon) Mendelsohn - business advisor and co-founder of LLM Communications

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Catherine (Cathy) Mary Bakewell MBE - former leader of Somerset County Council
  • Rosalind (Olly) Grender MBE - former Director of Communications for Shelter; former Director of Communications for the Liberal Democrats
  • Christine Mary Humphreys - President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats; former Member of the National Assembly for Wales
  • Zahida Manzoor CBE - former Legal Services Ombudsman; former Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
  • Brian Paddick - former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service
  • James Palumbo - co-founder and chairman of Ministry of Sound Group, the international music and entertainment business
  • Jeremy Purvis - former Member of the Scottish Parliament for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale
  • Alison Suttie - former Press Secretary to the President of the European Parliament; former Deputy Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg and Election Manager for the 2010 General Election
  • Rumi Verjee CBE - entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Sir Ian Wrigglesworth - Liberal Democrat Treasurer; former MP for Teeside Thornaby and for Stockton South
Brian Paddick, former London Mayoral candidate, has received a peerage. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
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The rise of the green mayor – Sadiq Khan and the politics of clean energy

At an event at Tate Modern, Sadiq Khan pledged to clean up London's act.

On Thursday night, deep in the bowls of Tate Modern’s turbine hall, London Mayor Sadiq Khan renewed his promise to make the capital a world leader in clean energy and air. Yet his focus was as much on people as power plants – in particular, the need for local authorities to lead where central governments will not.

Khan was there to introduce the screening of a new documentary, From the Ashes, about the demise of the American coal industry. As he noted, Britain continues to battle against the legacy of fossil fuels: “In London today we burn very little coal but we are facing new air pollution challenges brought about for different reasons." 

At a time when the world's leaders are struggling to keep international agreements on climate change afloat, what can mayors do? Khan has pledged to buy only hybrid and zero-emissions buses from next year, and is working towards London becoming a zero carbon city.

Khan has, of course, also gained heroic status for being a bête noire of climate-change-denier-in-chief Donald Trump. On the US president's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Khan quipped: “If only he had withdrawn from Twitter.” He had more favourable things to say about the former mayor of New York and climate change activist Michael Bloomberg, who Khan said hailed from “the second greatest city in the world.”

Yet behind his humour was a serious point. Local authorities are having to pick up where both countries' central governments are leaving a void – in improving our air and supporting renewable technology and jobs. Most concerning of all, perhaps, is the way that interest groups representing business are slashing away at the regulations which protect public health, and claiming it as a virtue.

In the UK, documents leaked to Greenpeace’s energy desk show that a government-backed initiative considered proposals for reducing EU rules on fire-safety on the very day of the Grenfell Tower fire. The director of this Red Tape Initiative, Nick Tyrone, told the Guardian that these proposals were rejected. Yet government attempts to water down other EU regulations, such as the energy efficiency directive, still stand.

In America, this blame-game is even more highly charged. Republicans have sworn to replace what they describe as Obama’s “war on coal” with a war on regulation. “I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump announced in March. While he has vowed “to promote clean air and clear water,” he has almost simultaneously signed an order to unravel the Clean Water Rule.

This rhetoric is hurting the very people it claims to protect: miners. From the Ashes shows the many ways that the industry harms wider public health, from water contamination, to air pollution. It also makes a strong case that the American coal industry is in terminal decline, regardless of possibile interventions from government or carbon capture.

Charities like Bloomberg can only do so much to pick up the pieces. The foundation, which helped fund the film, now not only helps support job training programs in coal communities after the Trump administration pulled their funding, but in recent weeks it also promised $15m to UN efforts to tackle climate change – again to help cover Trump's withdrawal from Paris Agreement. “I'm a bit worried about how many cards we're going to have to keep adding to the end of the film”, joked Antha Williams, a Bloomberg representative at the screening, with gallows humour.

Hope also lies with local governments and mayors. The publication of the mayor’s own environment strategy is coming “soon”. Speaking in panel discussion after the film, his deputy mayor for environment and energy, Shirley Rodrigues, described the move to a cleaner future as "an inevitable transition".

Confronting the troubled legacies of our fossil fuel past will not be easy. "We have our own experiences here of our coal mining communities being devastated by the closure of their mines," said Khan. But clean air begins with clean politics; maintaining old ways at the price of health is not one any government must pay. 

'From The Ashes' will premiere on National Geograhpic in the United Kingdom at 9pm on Tuesday, June 27th.

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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