Major rewards Tory fundraiser with peerage

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The Independent Online
THE PRIME Minister has rewarded one of his party's key fundraisers, Charles Hambro, with a peerage in the working list of 10 peers announced today.

Mr Hambro, 64, chairman of Hambros and former chairman of Hambros Bank, was appointed last February as the Conservative Party's senior treasurer with the task of overturning a pounds 16m overdraft.

The award of a peerage was criticised by Labour, who said Hambros had donated pounds 600,000 to Tory party funds over the past decade.

Mr Major's list includes two former MPs and two former MEPs but no sitting MPs, so avoiding the risk of a by-election.

The Tories are anxious to increase their strength in the upper house, where they have suffered repeated defeats in the past session, leading to a shake-up of the Government Lords' whips' office in the reshuffle.

Sir Christopher Prout, the former leader of the Conservative MEPs, who lost his seat at Shropshire and Stafford in June, and Patricia Rawlings, the MEP who lost her seat for Essex West, are both given seats in the House of Lords. Other new peers on Mr Major's list are: Sir Peter Blaker, former MP for Blackpool South, and Sir Michael Shaw, former MP for Scarborough. Both retired in 1992.

Paddy Ashdown, leader of the Liberal Democrats, selected Susan Thomas, vice- chair of Surrey county council, and Graham Tope, 51, leader of Sutton borough council since 1986 and former Liberal MP, who won the Sutton and Cheam by-election in 1972, losing his seat in 1974.

Labour's list, reported in the Independent yesterday, is: Josie Farrington, 54, chair of the Association of County Councils and Labour candidate at the Ribble Valley by- election; Derek Gladwin, 64, a GMB union leader and chairman of the Labour Party conference arrangements committee for 16 years; and Alf Dubs, 61, MP for Battersea until 1987.