Nick Ferrari puts Trade Secretary on the spot over Tory sleaze row ‘Can I become a lord?’

Nick Ferrari grills Trade Secretary about donors becoming Lords

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International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been grilled by Nick Ferrari, who asked whether he could “become a Lord” if he put a “£3m cheque in the post to the Prime Minister”. The grilling came after it was revealed that several multimillionaire donors who contributed millions to the Conservative Party campaigns were offered or secured seats in the House of Lord.

Speaking on his LBC show, Nick Ferrari said: “If I put a cheque for 3 million pounds in the post to the Prime Minister, can I become a lord?” 

Ms Trevelyan said: “You’d have to go through a whole committee assessing whether or not you were worthy and whether you had done enough in your civic duties.”

Mr Ferrari said: “So it’s a rubber stamp.”

The Tory frontbencher said: “No, it’s not a rubber stamp.”

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“And it’s all right for Lord Sugar and a number of union barons.

“This is about people who are put forward by political parties who have served our communities through all sorts of different ways.

“Running a business and employing 1000s and 1000s of people shouldn’t be a bar to also being in the House of Lords.” 

She went on: “We want our upper chamber to bring a richness of voices and a depth of understanding of our country from scientific experts through to businessmen and all sorts of others, who are going to help ensure that we do the best we can when we’re making legislation.

“And the system that is in place to review them is very thorough.

“And I continue to think that the upper chamber brings enormous value to our parliamentary system.”

According to an investigation conducted by The Sunday Times and Open Democracy, wealthy benefactors appear to be guaranteed a seat in the House of Lords if they take on the temporary role as the party treasurer and donate beyond £3 million.

The Conservative Party has been accused of abusing the honours system, a claim Environment Secretary George Eustice dismissed as he appeared on The Andrew Marr Show.

Sir Keir Starmer has also accused Boris Johnson of “corrupt and contemptible” behaviour in trying to “protect” Tory MP Owen Paterson, who was found to have broken lobbying rules.

He said on the Andrew Marr show: “Instead of upholding standards, [the prime minister] ordered his MPs to protect his mate and rip up the whole system.

“That’s corrupt and it’s contemptible and it’s not a one-off.”

Mr Paterson has now quit as an MP.

Ministers backed proposals to change the standards system that found Mr Paterson guilty rather than suspending him, but they changed their minds the next day.

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