The LibDems’ 9 New Peers
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 28th May, 2010
The traditional British Dissolution Honours and new working peers’ list were announced today, with nine new peerages for the Liberal Democrats in toto, including three former MPs: Richard Allan, Matthew Taylor and Phil Willis. The best-known name on the working peers’ list is Floella Benjamin, the Trinidadian-born author and TV presenter and Chancellor of the University of Exeter. She has been a star performer at recent LibDem conferences and events, as well as having a deep involvement with a number of charities, notably relating to children. She will be the LibDems’ frst black (as opposed to Asian) peer. Another ‘first’ is the Turkish-speaker Meral Ece, a former Islington councillor who is currently Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats. The LibDems have been making great inroads into the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot communities in London and elsewhere recently, so her appointment will be particularly welcome there.
Sir Ken (now Lord) Macdonald was Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales from 2003 to 2006. He was an alumnus of my old college, St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and writes regularly for The Times. As a practising barrister, he works alongside Cherie Booth (aka Cherie Blair) at Matrix, which hasn’t stopped him criticising Tony Blair’s ‘sycophancy towards power’.
The other three new LibDem peers are all well-known in party circles. Mike German was leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and one-time Deputy First Minister of Wales, while John Shipley has been a party stalwart in the North East of England, as a Councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne. Kate Parminter, former Chief Executive of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, also used to be a Councillor, in Horsham in West Sussex, and is currently a member of the LibDems’ Federal Executive.