Michelle Mone among new faces in House of Lords

Michelle Mone will receive a peerage. Picture: PA

Michelle Mone will receive a peerage. Picture: PA

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ENTREPRENEUR Michelle Mone is one of 45 new peers to be announced by Downing Street.

The Scottish lingerie tycoon, who has been appointed to head a review encouraging new businesses in employment black-spots, had been tipped for a peerage earlier this month, with reports Prime Minister David Cameron had informed her of the news via telephone.

The new peers came in the dissolution honours, which included a knighthood for former Liberal Democrat chief Treasury secretary and coalition architect Danny Alexander.

It is understood the senior Lib Dem, who lost his Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat to the SNP in the election, turned down a chance to go to the Lords but is being recognised for his work as one of the leading figures in the coalition with the Tories.

He said he plans to be “Sir Danny” not “Sir Daniel”. But he added: “It’s going to be very strange referred to as Sir. It is very humbling and a great honour. It is nice to be recognised for the work I did in the last government.”

He has not ruled out a return to front-line politics and said: “I could not accept a place in the Lords after spending my career campaigning for its abolition.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie dismissed speculation that Mr Alexander could seek election to the Scottish Parliament next year. “He has not ruled out coming back into politics. He is not thinking about Holyrood,” Mr Rennie said.

Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, who stood down from his Edinburgh South West seat before the election, is to go into the Lords following his leadership of the Better Together campaign in the independence referendum.

Mr Darling hopes to make a contribution on the future of the UK constitution and economic matters in the Upper House.

He said: “Our constitution urgently needs reform. I look forward to contributing to that debate, as well as addressing the big economic challenges we face.”

He will be joined in the Lords by former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, who stepped down from his North East Fife seat before the election, and the party’s former deputy leader Sir Malcolm Bruce, who retired from his Gordon seat in May.

Downing Street named 45 new peers, including former cabinet ministers William Hague, Andrew Lansley and Sir George Young, but there was fury from the Greens and Ukip that they had been ignored.

Ukip has three peers, all Tory defectors, and has never had one appointed.

The party’s Lord Pearson described the situation as a “constitutional anomaly” and accused Mr Cameron of disregarding the principle of fair representation.

The SNP claimed the honours were rewards for the Better Together team in last year’s referendum and for failed politicians.

Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman, SNP spokeswoman on the House of Lords, said: “This is a sorry list of rejected and retired party politicians – cronies and hangers-on with big cheque books. The message from David Cameron is – even if people reject your party at the ballot box, you will be handed a seat in parliament for the rest of your life – because Mr Cameron ‘can’.

“It will come as no surprise that the Better Together campaign frontman gets his reward with the elevation of Alistair – now Lord – Darling for his support of the Tory-led campaign.”

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