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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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