Cashman, Brady and Rose among new working peers

Former eastenders actor Michael Cashman, businesswoman Karren Brady and former Marks & Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose are among 12 new Conservative working peers appointed by David Cameron, Downing Street said.

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David Cameron at centre of cash-for-peerages row

The Prime Minister is at the heart of cash-for-peerages row following the appointment of two wealthy Tory backers to the House of Lords. Financier and party co-treasurer Michael Farmer and businessman Ranbir Suri are among 12 new Conservative working peers announced today by the Prime Minister.

But according to an analysis by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), which campaigns for an elected upper chamber, Mr Farmer has donated more than £6.5 million to the Conservatives. Mr Singh, a former general secretary of the Board of British Sikhs, has contributed a further £312,435 - either personally or through his company Oceanic Jewellers, the ERS 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

– ERS chief executive Katie Ghose

ERS chief executive Katie Ghose said such appointments meant wealthy political donors were effectively able to buy a place in the legislature. The Tories strongly defended the appointment of Mr Farmer, describing him as a "worthy recipient" of a peerage.

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Former actor Cashman among new working peers

Former Eastenders actor and MEP for the West Midlands constituency Michael Cashman CBE has been included among a list of new working peers.

Former EastEnder Michael Cashmam. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The list issued by Downing Street of newly-appointed working peers also includes for Labour chairman of Penguin Random House UK, Dame Gail Rebuck.

The list of Conservative working peers appointed by David Cameron also includes Natalie Evans, director of New Schools Network, a charity giving support for groups setting up free schools.

No. 10 refuses to comment on Tory peerage claims

Number 10 has refused to comment on claims that David Cameron is to give peerages to leading Conservative supporters including West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady and former Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose.

We won't be confirming anything in advance. Honours and appointments are made in the usual way through the independent honours committees."

– Downing Street spokesman

Sky News reported that the pair are among a list of 20 "working peers" nominated by the political parties to be named next weekKarren Brady. Also on the list was major Conservative donor and former party co-treasurer Michael Farmer, the broadcaster said.

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