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.

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Gender pay gap: women do not choose to be paid less than men

Care work isn’t going anywhere – and it’s about time we recognised which half of the population is doing it, unpaid.

Is it just me, or does Mansplain The Pay Gap Day get earlier every year? It’s not even November and already men up and down the land are hard at work responding to the latest so-called “research” suggesting that women suffer discrimination when it comes to promotions and pay. 

Poor men. It must be a thankless task, having to do this year in, year out, while women continue to feel hard done to on the basis of entirely misleading statistics. Yes, women may earn an average of 18 per cent less than men. Yes, male managers may be 40 per cent more likely than female managers to be promoted. Yes, the difference in earnings between men and women may balloon once children are born. But let’s be honest, this isn’t about discrimination. It’s all about choice.

Listen, for instance, to Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs:

“When people make the decision to go part time, either for familial reasons or to gain a better work-life balance, this can impact further career opportunities but it is a choice made by the individual - men and women alike.”

Women can hardly expect to be earning the same as men if we’re not putting in the same number of hours, can we? As Tory MP Philip Davies has said: “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.” Since we’re far more likely than men to work part-time and/or to take time off to care for others, it makes perfect sense for us to be earning less.

After all, it’s not as though the decisions we make are influenced by anything other than innate individual preferences, arising from deep within our pink, fluffy brains. And it’s not as though the tasks we are doing outside of the traditional workplace have any broader social, cultural or economic value whatsoever.

To listen to the likes of Littlewood and Davies, you’d think that the feminist argument regarding equal pay started and ended with “horrible men are paying us less to do the same jobs because they’re mean”. I mean, I think it’s clear that many of them are doing exactly that, but as others have been saying, repeatedly, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The thing our poor mansplainers tend to miss is that there is a problem in how we are defining work that is economically valuable in the first place. Women will never gain equal pay as long as value is ascribed in accordance with a view of the world which sees men as the default humans.

As Katrine Marçal puts it in Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?, “in the same way that there is a ‘second sex’, there is a ‘second economy’”:

“The work that is traditionally carried out by men is what counts. It defines the economic world view. Women’s work is ‘the other’. Everything that he doesn’t do but that he is dependent on so he can do what he does.”

By which Marçal means cooking, cleaning, nursing, caring – the domestic tasks which used to be referred to as “housework” before we decided that was sexist. Terms such as “housework” belong to an era when women were forced to do all the domestic tasks by evil men who told them it was their principal role in life. It’s not like that now, at least not as far as our mansplaining economists are concerned. Nowadays when women do all the domestic tasks it’s because they’ve chosen “to gain a better work-life balance.” Honestly. We can’t get enough of those unpaid hours spent in immaculate homes with smiling, clean, obedient children and healthy, Werther’s Original-style elderly relatives. It’s not as though we’re up to our elbows in the same old shit as before. Thanks to the great gods Empowerment and Choice, those turds have been polished out of existence. And it’s not as though reproductive coercion, male violence, class, geographic location, social conditioning or cultural pressures continue to influence our empowered choices in any way whatsoever. We make all our decisions in a vacuum (a Dyson, naturally).

Sadly, I think this is what many men genuinely believe. It’s what they must tell themselves, after all, in order to avoid feeling horribly ashamed at the way in which half the world’s population continues to exploit the bodies and labour of the other half. The gender pay gap is seen as something which has evolved naturally because – as Marçal writes – “the job market is still largely defined by the idea that humans are bodiless, sexless, profit-seeking individuals without family or context”. If women “choose” to behave as though this is not the case, well, that’s their look-out (that the economy as a whole benefits from such behaviour since it means workers/consumers continue to be born and kept alive is just a happy coincidence).

I am not for one moment suggesting that women should therefore be “liberated” to make the same choices as men do. Rather, men should face the same restrictions and be expected to meet the same obligations as women. Care work isn’t going anywhere. There will always be people who are too young, too old or too sick to take care of themselves. Rebranding  this work the “life” side of the great “work-life balance” isn’t fooling anyone.

So I’m sorry, men. Your valiant efforts in mansplaining the gender pay gap have been noted. What a tough job it must be. But next time, why not change a few nappies, wash a few dishes and mop up a few pools of vomit instead? Go on, live a little. You’ve earned it. 

Glosswitch is a feminist mother of three who works in publishing.