Financial News

  • 8 August 2014, 10:48

Jewellery Tycoon Suri To Become Tory Peer

A jewellery tycoon who ranks among Britain's richest Asians is to be ennobled by David Cameron when nearly two dozen new members of the House of Lords are confirmed on Friday.

Sky News has learnt that Ranbir Singh Suri, the founder of Oceanic Jewellers, will become a Conservative Peer as part of the new Lords intake.

Mr Suri, who is a long-standing Tory supporter, also donated around 60,000 to the party between 2006 and 2009, Electoral Commission filings show.

He has also been a member of Conservative-supporting groups such as the Renaissance Forum, for which annual subscriptions run to 10,000.

Oceanic, Mr Suri's company, has become a successful international business, contributing to a fortune estimated by The Sunday Times Rich List several years ago at 40m.

His appointment will be one of around 20 to be announced on Friday, with the majority selected by Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader.

Sky News revealed last weekend that the list will include prominent names such as Karren Brady, the star of The Apprentice; Sir Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer chairman; and Sir Michael Farmer, the Conservative co-treasurer.

Sir Michael has donated millions of pounds to the party, meaning that his appointment could ignite a row about the propriety of handing peerages to big party donors.

One ally described him as "a great man ... who will add a significant amount to the quality of debate in the Lords", and said that without the ennobling of some figures who gave financial backing to the main parties, state funding "would become inevitable".

The frequent appointment of new peers has sparked criticism about the cost to taxpayers and the ability of the Lords to function effectively as a legislative scrutineer.

Both Ms Brady and Sir Stuart have appeared at Conservative annual conferences in recent years, with the West Ham United boss also taking on a role as small business adviser to the Government.

Sir Stuart, who has taken on a string of jobs since leaving M&S, including the chairmanship of Ocado, the online grocer, has also been advising the Government on NHS reform.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We won't be confirming anything in advance. Any appointments would be made in the usual way and are subject to independent vetting and scrutiny by the House of Lords Appointment Commission."

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