Former Cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles among nine newly-appointed Tory peers

Posted On: 
18th May 2018

Former Cabinet minister and party chair Sir Eric Pickles is among nine Conservatives to have been appointed to the House of Lords.

Former Communities and Local Government Secretary Sir Eric Pickles is among the appointees
PA Images

The Government confirmed that nine Tory nominees, three from Labour and one from the DUP will sit in the Upper Chamber.

Mr Pickles, former Solicitor-General Sir Edward Garnier, ex-Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley and one-time Treasury Select Committee chair, Andrew Tyrie, were among Theresa May’s nominees.

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Former Deputy Chief Whip Sir John Randall, MP Sir Alan Haselhurst and Amanda Sater, lately Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, were also handed peerages.

And charity figures Catherine Meyer of Action Against Abduction and founder of SafeLives, Diana Barran, were appointed on behalf of the party.

From Labour, former general secretary Ian McNicol, campaigner Martha Osamor - mother of shadow frontbencher Kate Osamor - and author Pauline Bryan were appointed.

Former DUP MP for South Antrim William McCrea was handed a peerage after nomination by his party.

The Prime Minister earlier faced criticism that the move was a ploy to stave off further bruising Brexit defeats.

It comes after the Lords passed 15 amendments on the EU Withdrawal Bill, against the Government’s wishes, in recent weeks.

The Government is short of having a majority in the Upper House, leaving it vulnerable to defeat when more Brexit legislation comes before parliament.

Mrs May was also accused of "cowering in the shade" of the publicity surrounding Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Alexandra Runswick, director of campaign group Unlock Democracy, said the move was “hypocritical, opportunistic, and weak” and that ministers were “treating the public like idiots”.

Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby said of the appointments: “This is a desperate grab for power by a regime losing its grip on Parliament, public opinion and even its own backbenches.

“The PM is running scared of the mounting criticism of her disastrous handling of Brexit.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster said of Dr McCrea's appointment: “Dr McCrea is most deserving of this honour. I know he will use this new position to champion public policy issues such as the provision of adult learning facilities for people with special needs.

“Undoubtedly he will be an excellent advocate for this cause in the House of Lords.”