Business leaders turn on 'Tsar Alan'

The arrival of Sir Alan Sugar into the Government as an “enterprise tsar” is just a desperate attempt by Gordon Brown to boost his public popularity, according to business leaders.

More than four-fifths (81 per cent) of business figures believe that the appointment was designed to help his public standing after a disastrous showing at the European and local elections last week, found a poll carried out by ComRes for The Independent.

Most of the 255 business leaders asked also saw the appointment as an empty gesture, with only 14 per cent believing Sir Alan would “make a real difference to the Government’s business policies”.

Just 29 per cent thought his appearance was a “wise move” by the Prime Minister, and only a third said Sir Alan had been right to take the job. Mr Brown handed the businessman and star of the BBC’s The Apprentice the role during last week’s cabinet reshuffle.

However, the appointment was immediately attacked by the Tories, who said that Sir Alan’s role on the BBC show presented a clear conflict of interest with his new job, for which he is not being paid.

The former chairman of Tottenham Football Club has handed over the day-to-day running of his companies in an attempt to defuse the row, a spokesman said. Leading Labour Party rebels signalled yesterday that Mr Brown could yet be removed as leader before the next election, despite surviving a plot to oust him.

Charles Clarke, the former Home Secretary, said Mr Brown had work to do to ensure he would lead the party into the next general election. “If the poll ratings go up or we win these by-elections which are going to come through, I think the issue will go away and he can be confident he leads us into the next election,” he told the BBC’s Straight Talk programme. “If, on the other hand,he somehow doesn’t fulfil those things or electorally we do badly, then the issue will still be there.”

He also gave a dire warning that without any improvement in the party’s performance, Labour would face “total disaster” and may even be overtaken by the Liberal Democrats at the next election.

“Some of the people I trust most who watch opinion believe that if we keep going without improving, we could come third, we could even be down to less than 100 seats,” he said.

The Government also admitted last night that Lord Carter, the Communications minister, would be leaving his post over the summer recess.

He had made it clear upon taking the job that he was “not a politician” and had been recruited for the specific task of producing the Digital Britain report, which will be published next week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory