Tories dominate quangos by margin of six to one

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The Independent Online
Six times more Conservatives than Labour supporters were put in charge of quangos last year, a report revealed yesterday.

Sir Leonard Peach, the independent Commissioner for Public Standards, said as he launched his annual report that he expected the balance to swing in Labour's favour now the party was in government. He also said he planned to warn ministers against allowing their political advisers to sit on appointments panels for public bodies.

This year's report, the second published by Sir Leonard, is the first to analyse the number of political appointments made to quangos.

Although only 17 per cent of chairmen and 9 per cent of board members had been political candidates or had made public speeches in support of a particular party, most of those who had done so were Tories.

Of 216 chairmen and women appointed or reappointed last year to one of 8,000 public bodies between July 1996 and March 1997, 37 were politically active. Of those, 30 were Tories, five were Labour, one was Liberal Democrat and one Plaid Cymru. None were identified as being ministerial nominations.

Only one in five of the chairmen's posts went to women, and none went to people from ethnic minorities.