Sir Alan Sugar in first 'enterprise tsar' visit

Sir Alan Sugar refused to answer questions on whether there was a conflict of interest between his newly appointed Government role and presenting The Apprentice show on television.

The Conservatives have written to BBC director general Mark Thompson questioning whether Sir Alan's "enterprise tsar" role could breach the corporation's impartiality rules during the General Election campaign.

Sir Alan, who will take a seat in the House of Lords following Gordon Brown's reshuffle last week, was in Gateshead meeting young people as part of a campaign encouraging more teenagers to take up apprenticeships.

One reporter asked Sir Alan whether there was a conflict of interest between his TV show and his new Government role.

"I am not here to discuss my new Government role. As I said to this gentleman here [BBC reporter] this is the fourth seminar in the apprenticeship initiative," the tycoon said.

"That's what I'm doing here and hopefully the initiative will go on. This is not part of the so-called Government role that was announced last week and that's what I am here to talk about."

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