Watchdog blocks three of Blairs men for Lords

Congratulations to the HLA commission for blocking three more 'questionable' labour nominations for a peership!

THE watchdog that scrutinises nominations to the House of Lords faces the biggest test of its six-year history after opposing plans by Tony Blair to give peerages to three wealthy donors to the Labour Party.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission has blocked the nominations of Sir David Garrard, Chai Patel and Barry Townsley, provoking a stand-off with Downing Street that has delayed a new list of working peers.

Mr Townsley withdrew his name last month, complaining of unwanted media attention and saying that he no longer wished to be considered. A fourth nominee, Robert Edmiston, who was proposed by the Conservative Party, is also the subject of further inquiries.

The commission, chaired by Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, the chairman of HBOS bank who is a close friend of Peter Mandelson, has previously raised questions over the nominations of prospective Conservative peers, notably Lords Black of Crossharbour, Ashcroft and Laidlaw.

But this is the first time that the commission has in effect blocked a list of working peers because of doubts over several of the Labour nominees.

Mr Patel is the head of the Priory group of clinics and has made two modest donations to Labour but is believed to have given substantially more before a change in the law requiring all donations to be declared.

Sir David is a property developer who has given £200,000 to Labour and sponsored Bexley Business Academy with more than £2 million. He previously gave £70,000 to the Conservatives.

Mr Townsley, founder of a stockbroking firm, sponsored Stockley Academy, which opened in Hillingdon, West London, in 2004, for around £1.5 million. He has also given £6,000 to the Labour Party.

Mr Edmiston, head of the IM car importer group, has given £250,000 to the Tories.


According to "The Eye", Townsley has jacked his wait in and has indicated that he does not wish to be considered.

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