Sir Andrew Green, head of Migration Watch, has been awarded a life peerage, in what will be seen as further evidence of David Cameron’s anxiety about the electoral threat posed by Ukip.
The former diplomat has campaigned relentlessly in favour of keeping the number of migrants allowed into the UK to a minimum, an issue since taken up by Nigel Farage and turned into Ukip’s biggest single vote-winner.
Sir Andrew, 73, was a professional diplomat for 35 years, and rose to be the UK's ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He also founded MigrationWatch in 2008. On its website, the organisation says that “sustainable levels of properly managed immigration are of distinct benefit to our society… [but] at present immigration is neither sustainable nor well managed”.
His campaigning has won him accolades from the right wing of the Conservative Party, and from the BNP, but his elevation to the Lords provoked incredulity and protests from the left on the social media as soon as it was announced.
The Labour peer Steward Wood tweeted derisively: “I expect the newly ennobled Andrew Green of MigrationWatch to spearhead concerns that the Lords is being flooded by new appointees”, but Tim Montgomerie, founder of the ConservativeHome website, tweeted: “Delighted Sir Andrew Green has been ennobled. He's faced a lot of hate for championing popular concern about immigration.”
Sir Andrew was one of four new peers announced by Downing Street. Sir Robert Rogers, chief clerk of the Commons, is being made a peer on his retirement after working in Parliament for more than 40 years – and reportedly after falling out with the Speaker, John Bercow.
Sir Jonathan Evans, who was director general of the British Security Service from April 2007 to April 2013 and who spent 30 years as a spy, and Professor Alison Wolf, a leading authority on vocational education and training and on the relationship between education, gender and the labour market, have also been raised to the peerage.
Baroness Royall, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords accused David Cameron of using his power of patronage for “short term political gain”. She tweeted: “More desperation in face of UKIP…Does the PM do anything in the interest of the country?"
Downing Street denied that the award meant that David Cameron was endorsing MigrationWatch. A spokeswoman said that Sir Andrew “has contributed in two areas of public service and public life. He has served for over 35 years in the diplomatic service. Since then he has made a contribution by the work he has done on the migration and immigration debate.”Reuse content