Sir Alan accepts peerage for 'need of country'

Sir Alan Sugar today said he had accepted his peerage and new role as the Government's enterprise tsar for "the need of the country".

The multi-millionaire businessman, who will receive a seat in the House of Lords as part of a new role boosting enterprise, said the appointment would enable him to give help to small businesses.

Sir Alan, famous for his catchphrase "You're fired" on television show The Apprentice, attacked the lack of business expertise among civil servants in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, pledging to "guide them in the right direction".

Details of the appointment were thrashed out between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sir Alan, who is a long-standing friend of the Premier, at Number 10 yesterday.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson welcomed the appointment. He said: "Lord Sugar is just one heck of a man and you will see him pioneering enterprise, backing small and medium-sized enterprises around the country.

"That's what we need. If we are going to succeed economically in this country, we going to have that sort of success and Alan Sugar's going to help us achieve it."

In an interview with Sky News Sir Alan said: "It has been lacking in the past of people who really know first hand what is needed in business. I cannot take on a ministerial role and I must not be a person making policy.

"All I can do is advise those that are in charge of making policy from a business point of view as to what is right and what is wrong.

"They need someone now in these kind of...emergency economic times that we have got that someone who has been there and worn the T-shirt on what to do as far as business is concerned.

"That is what interests me most in this thing, I am doing it because of the need of the country really.

"If you can believe me, it is not politically motivated in any way. It is more I think that small businesses and people need help.

"With all due respect to the people in Victoria Street, they are what they are, they are civil servants and they have never actually been in business. You have got to have someone there to guide them in the right direction."