By Conrad Landin in Britain:
New lords donated eye-watering 7 million
Saturday 9th August 2014
FRESHLY appointed aristocrats were revealed yesterday to have donated a whopping £7 million to political parties, prompting campaigners to demand an end to the “stinking nod and a wink process” of appointments to the Lords.
Tory Prime Minister David Cameron announced 22 new life peers yesterday — including Apprentice star Karren Brady and former Marks & Spencer executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose.
But the most controversial Tory appointee was hedge fund magnate Michael Farmer, who has donated over £6.5m to the party.
The City financier known as Mr Copper has been accused of avoiding tax by operating from Bermuda.
Times commentator and former Conservative Home editor Tim Montgomerie wrote on Twitter: “More Cameroonian cronies for the Upper House.”
But the pomp and fanfare was drowned out by questions over the appointments process to Britain’s bloated and undemocratic House of Lords.
Labour MP Michael Meacher called for a “complete revision” of the house.
“One can only guess they either assumed they would get rewarded for donating, or they got a nod and a wink. It stinks. The whole process is corrupt — we urgently need to scrap this system,” he told the Star.
And Electoral Reform Society chief executive Katie Ghose said: “These appointments further cement the impression that to get into the House of Lords, all you have to do is write a fat cheque to a political party or be a party hack.
“The second chamber is a crucial part of our political system, with real legislative power. It cannot be right that people are effectively able to buy a seat at the highest level of politics.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband appointed former party staffer Chris Lennie, ex-MEP and EastEnders actor Michael Cashman and publishing magnate Dame Gail Rebuck.
Blairite loyalist Mr Cashman was a long-serving member of Labour’s national executive and controversially overruled grassroots delegates when chairing the 2012 Labour conference.
Mr Lennie was Mr Miliband’s first choice for party general secretary in 2011 — but lost out after unions and grassroots Labour executive reps backed former GMB official Iain McNicol instead.
Mr Cashman has donated £2,500 to Labour, while Dame Gail has forked out £2,000.
Lib Dem appointments include former council leaders Paul Scriven and Barbara Janke, both large donors.