Kirstie Allsopp among 20 figures poised for Tory peerages, lobbyists claim

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp and worldwide web creator Tim Berners-Lee are among 20 high-profile individuals being lined up for Tory peerages, PRWeek can reveal.

On the list: Will Kirstie Allsopp be offered peerage?
On the list: Will Kirstie Allsopp be offered peerage?

Senior lobbyists told PRWeek they were aware of 'advanced discussions' regarding the elevation of the 20 individuals. Some of them are tipped for ministerial roles.

One leading public affairs agency, Mandate Communications, said it had obtained the information through discussions with Tory MPs and advisers at the Conservative Party conference last week.

Mandate is now looking to strengthen its relationships with the 20 potential peers, many of whom could be set for ministerial posts in a Conservative government.

A detailed list of names provided to Mandate has been obtained by PRWeek and is published in full below. Other names in the frame include government efficiency expert Sir Peter Gershon and environmental campaigner Jonathan Porrit.

Mandate's public affairs managing director Fiona Mason told PRWeek: 'Through a number of discussions with senior Conservatives, Mandate has a clear view of the Conservative leadership's plans to create a large number of new peers at the start of a new Tory government.'

She added: 'The Conservatives are planning to use Lords' appointments to sprinkle some star dust on their front bench. David Cameron is keen to bring to the fore a range of policy and technical experts who have stronger knowledge of the wider world than many of his MPs... Some of the new Tory peers are poised to take on ministerial posts; others will be even more influential, sitting at the back of the red benches.

'My advice to anyone in public affairs is to think about your relationship with these new figures. With the possibility of a hung Parliament still strong, the influence and role of the House of Lords after the election will be more significant than ever.'

Mandate is headed by CEO Sacha Deshmukh. Its team of consultants includes Bill Morgan, former special adviser to shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley.


The full list of names provided to Mandate:
1. Sir Peter Gershon - Government efficiency expert. Being considered for a Ministerial role making some of the toughest spending-cuts decisions facing an incoming Conservative administration.
2. Stuart Rose - Marks & Spencer Chairman whom the Tories plan to recognise for both his business acumen and his profile amongst the corporate responsibility community thanks to Marks & Spencer's "Plan A".
3. Jonathan Porritt - Friend of the Prince of Wales and environmental campaigner. Being considered for post Copenhagen summit roving "Green Envoy" role.
4. Michael Spencer - Critical lynchpin of Conservative election planning, leading party "ambassador" to the City and responsible for restoring Conservative financial health in his role as Party Treasurer. Cameron wants to keep those relationships friendly in the first few tough years of a new Government.
5. DeAnne Julius - Chair of Chatham House and former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, will add significant gravitas - and gender balance - to the Conservatives in the House of Lords.
6. Angela Knight - Former Conservative MP and current head of the British Bankers' Association. Her appointment will send a signal to the banking sector that the Conservatives plan to work with banks to encourage recovery and seek to avoid demonising them. But it also shows that the Conservatives want a banking "insider" to help sell their vision for the new regulatory regime.
7. Ann Widdecombe - A reward for years of service in the Commons and also a symbol to the right wing of the Conservative Party that David Cameron has not forgotten that they helped his rise to the leadership.
8. Sir Howard Bernstein - Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, host to this year's Conservative Party Conference.
9. Sir Richard Dannatt - Former Chief of the Defence Staff. Respected for his independence; David Cameron hopes to rebuild bridges between government and the military brass that have strained under Labour.
10. Sir John Tusa - Not a natural Tory, but as the leader of the Conservative Taskforce on the Arts in 2007, Tusa is an ambassador between the Conservative Party and the naturally left-leaning arts establishment.
11. Bill Emmott - Former editor of the Economist and commentator on the growth of Chinese economic and political power. Being considered to advise the Conservative frontbench foreign policy team.
12. Sir Alan Haselhurst - Recognition that there is a continued role for this respected Conservative Parliamentarian who had, until just a few months ago, been considered the favourite to become Speaker of the House of Commons.
13. Sir John Major - Previously refused a peerage when offered. Now being convinced to take the position to give "elder statesman" support to a young new Prime Minister.
14. Harpal Kumar - Whilst the Cancer Research UK CEO will be at pains to retain his independence, the Conservatives are keen to make a strong gesture to the campaigning community by elevating this leading charity sector figure.
15. Jill Kirby - Director of the Centre for Policy Studies and responsible for advancing Conservative thinking across a range of policy areas.
16. Robin Wight - Advertising industry legend (and President of Mandate's parent communications group, Engine). A former Conservative Parliamentary candidate. Mooted as a link to the creative industries and symbol that the new Conservative Party is not afraid to include a man whose wardrobe includes purple and pink Oswald Boateng suits.
17. Sir Simon Milton - Central figure of the new Conservative local government establishment.

18. David Ross - co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse and another senior business figure who has been close to the Conservative leadership.
19. Tim Berners-Lee - The man behind the World Wide Web contributed to Labour's Digital Britain, but the Conservatives want his credibility behind their policies to implement the next stage in the country's digital development.

20. Kirsty Allsopp - Presenter of Location, Location, Location, famed for her pashminas, Allsopp has already been advising the Conservatives on housing matters. The daughter of a Peer, the Lords should hold no fear for the famous property developer, and her elevation would add a populist touch to proceedings.

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