Two new North East representatives for House of Lords

Former MEP Martin Callanan and Labour official Chris Lennie to join the House of Lords

North East Conservative MEP Martin Callanan
North East Conservative MEP Martin Callanan

The North East is to have two new representatives in the House of Lords, it has emerged.

Conservative leader David Cameron and Labour’s Ed Miliband have each appointed new peers with strong links to the region.

The new Tory peer is Martin Callanan, who was an MEP representing the North East from 1999 to 2014.

He was born in Newcastle and is a former Gateshead councillor, and will become Lord Callanan of Low Fell.

The Labour peer is Chris Lennie, the former regional director for the Labour Party in the North of England who became Deputy Secretary General of the Labour Party.

He will be known as Lord Lennie of Longsands, a beach close to his Tynemouth home.

Prime Minister David Cameron at the Port of Tyne in Tyne and Wear on a visit to the region
Prime Minister David Cameron at the Port of Tyne in Tyne and Wear on a visit to the region

Both will be working peers, which means they will be expected to attend the Lords on a regular basis and could potentially be considered for ministerial or shadow ministerial roles.

Lord Callanan said: “I’m born and bred in the North East so I will want to use this opportunity to advance the cause of the region.

“I want to champion the North East and also continue to take an interest in European issues.”

He said he would also continue to promote the Conservative Party in the North East, adding: “I strongly believe that one of the factors that has been holding back the North East is the dominance of the Labour Party and socialism for so long. I believe in changing the political culture of the North East.”

Lord Lennie was on holiday when the announcement was made.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Chris Lennie has been a valued servant of the labour and trade union movements and a lifelong charity fundraiser. I am sure he will bring this perspective and experience to his work in the Lords.”

Other new peers include businesswoman Karren Brady, a star of BBC’s The Apprentice, and the former Marks and Spencer store chief Sir Stuart Rose. They are among 12 new Conservative working peers.

Conservative peers included jewellery tycoon Ranbir Singh Suri, and City financier Michael Farmer.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has appointed six new Liberal Democrat peers, including the party’s former chief executive Chris Fox, while Ed Miliband has added three new Labour peers, among them the former EastEnders’ actor Michael Cashman and Penguin Random House chairman Dame Gail Rebuck.

The announcements take the total number of peers to 796, compared with 650 MPs in the House of Commons.


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