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.

Getty
Show Hide image

I'm playing sports again – but things just aren't cricket

I start the new season with red wine stains on my cap, a dodgy shoulder and a burnt nostril.

I’ve put my name up for the first match of the season, playing for that team of redoubtable cricketers, the Rain Men, named after their founder Marcus Berkmann’s book about a team of middle-aged and, er, “mixed-ability” players. The book was first published twenty years ago. Feel free to do some rudimentary maths.

I myself haven’t played for three years. I know this because when I go to get some new contact lenses – I don’t like the idea of running around in glasses, or having a cricket ball lodge them into my eyeballs – I am told I have not bought any since 2013. Yes, that would figure. I couldn’t play for much of 2013, and all of 2014, because two weekends a month I was busy with my children, and the other two I was busy with my lover. A game takes up a whole Sunday – one is committed, including travel and the post-match drink, for about ten hours, and that is too long to spend apart from your loved one, unless of course you are married or otherwise permanently settled and you see them all the time anyway.

In 2015 that restriction was lifted for me, but for some reason I spent that year being too sad to think about playing cricket and also far too unfit. I would occasionally walk long distances and do a few dozen desultory lifts of the dumb-bells in order to achieve even the beginnings of some kind of muscular definition, but in the end the lassitude took over and I thought that maybe the team, however ageing, could do without someone who gets a bit winded when walking down stairs.

Then a brief moment of optimism a couple of weeks ago, combined with a ray of what may possibly have been sunshine, inspired me to rejoin the fold. The team’s meticulously kept records, known among the members as “Sad Stats”, inform me that I have played only eight games for them; when one has played ten, one is eligible for a Rain Men cap, a properly made thing whose design and hooped colours are, in their air of having come from another age, seemingly designed specifically to enrage fast bowlers.

The cap I have says “Antigua, WI”. It’s a battered thing I bought on the island a few years ago, now stained, not sure how, with red wine, but which I will say is my own, fearlessly shed blood, should anyone ever ask. The idea is that, if I wear this cap, some idiot will think I have actually played for Antigua and am thus a force to be reckoned with. However, after a few deliveries, I suspect the opposition has decided that the “WI” stands for Women’s Institute rather than West Indies.

So I start my fitness training a week or so before the match. This involves a walk into town for dinner, followed by a single lift of the dumb-bells before I realise that The Thing That Is Wrong With My Right Shoulder is as bad as it was when it started, about a month ago. What is wrong with it? I can’t move my arm above shoulder height, but I can’t think of any strain I could have put on it. Can you get cancer of the shoulder?

Well, this rules out bowling, except bowling is already ruled out on the grounds that I can no longer bowl, even with a fully rotational shoulder joint. Which in our case we have not got, to quote Henry Reed’s “Naming of Parts”.

In the end, I confine my preparations to a few practice shots with the bat on the back terrace while listening to The Archers. Strangely, the bat seems to have put on a lot of weight since I last held it. I tried practising in front of the mirror in the living room, but as I can only see my head in it, this is not much use except for practising my face. On the terrace, I attempt a pull shot with a fag in my mouth, which clenches so as to make me burn my right nostril really rather badly. A week later, when I actually play, it is still sore to the touch.

As for the game . . . well, it’s an odd one. We manage to eke out a draw, and as for my own contribution, the less said about that, the better. But at least I don’t drop any catches and, even though it causes my shoulder agony, I stop a few balls in the field. The ground itself, however, is right in the shadow of the Didcot A power station, in whose ruins are still at least three bodies of the men who were caught there when it collapsed in February. Throughout the game, lorries tip their burdens of mangled metal on enormous scrapheaps. It puts things in perspective. But look in the other direction, and rapidly backwards and forwards the early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers. 

Nicholas Lezard is a literary critic for the Guardian and also writes for the Independent. He writes the Down and Out in London column for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 19 May 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Great Huckster