Former Sheffield MP David Blunkett to join House of Lords

The Right Honourable David Blunkett in Sheffield ahead of the General Election'Picture by Dean Atkins
The Right Honourable David Blunkett in Sheffield ahead of the General Election'Picture by Dean Atkins
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Former MP and Sheffield Council leader David Blunkett is to take up a new political role as a peer in the House of Lords.

The veteran politican - who stood down as MP for Brightside and Hillsborough at the general election in May - is to return to Westminister after only three months away from Parliament.

He is one of 45 new peers announced today, most of whom are Conservative appointments.

Mr Blunkett, who will seek the title of Lord David Blunkett, of Brightside and Hillsborough, said he was ‘very pleased’ to have the opportunity.

He added: “I very much hope to be able to continue advocating on behalf of those whose voices are never heard, and of course in praise of my beloved city of Sheffield.

“I hope in one small way to be able to provide a much more acceptable balance in terms of a voice from the regions of England who are currently so badly represented in the second chamber.”

“My mother would have felt this to be the equivalent of riding in a luxury limousine where as today, it is more like standing room only on the top of an extremely busy double decker bus!

“Optimistically, it may well be possible to block or delay the worst elements of the Conservative programme where this was not explicitly detailed in their manifesto and therefore legitimised in the general election.”

The most controversial of the 45 new appointments was that of Douglas Hogg, the former Conservative MP who notoriously claimed expenses for cleaning out his moat.

Critics have said the House of Lords has too many members, with 768 peers before the announcement.

Experts also predict that the new lords will cost ‘at least’ £1.2m a year based on analysis of House of Lords accounts.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:“At a time when the Government is talking about reducing the cost of politics, this announcement is an expensive insult to the public.

“These new appointments will cost at least £1.2m per year and that’s before increased operating costs are taken into account.”

Other new peers with connections to South Yorkshire include Jonny Oates, who was chief of staff to Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg when he was Deputy Prime Minister in the former Coalition Government, and former Conservative MP William Hague, who was born in Wath, Rotherham.

Two Sheffield Liberal Democrat councillors have also been given new titles for political service in dissolution honours.

Ecclesall Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, who was re-elected this year and previously served Broomhill for ten years, received an MBE as did Coun Andrew Sangar, who was election agent to Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg.

Coun Mohammed said: “I definitely wasn’t expecting it - I was taken aback by it really.”

Margaret Binks, constituency office manager for Mr Clegg, also receives an MBE for political service.

Several other advisors to Mr Clegg were also honoured.