As the new peer’s family watched from a packed public gallery, the Clerk of the House read out the Queen’s proclamation. The monarch, he said, would “advance, create and prefer on our trusty and well-beloved friend Sir Alan Sugar the title of the Baron Sugar of Clapton in our London Borough of Hackney.”At the end, there was a muted ripple of “hear, hear”, entirely from the Labour benches, where Lord Sugar will in future sit.
The new peer shook hands with Baroness Hayman, the Lord Speaker, and processed out at the throne end of the chamber.
The abrasive entrepreneur, who became a media star through his appearances on BBC’s The Apprentice, has been made a life peer following his appointment last month as Gordon Brown’s ’enterprise tsar’. He will advise the PM, but will not become a minister.
Sir Alan’s appointment sparked a row over the next series of The Apprentice, which is expected to clash with the general election next spring. Conservatives said that as a signed-up Government adviser he should no longer be allowed to present the show, but the corporation insisted his new role would not “compromise the BBC’s impartiality”.
There was further dismay when a female former employee revealed she was suing the tycoon and his son for sexual discrimination.
Sir Alan has stepped down from all his company directorships this month to avoid any conflicts of interest in his new role.
The 62-year-old multi-millionaire has also been dropped from advertisements to promote apprenticeships and premium bonds because of Cabinet Office guidelines that prevent political figures from taking part in Government advertising.
Friend and advisor Claude Littner, will assume all of Sugar’s day-to-day business responsibilities. Littner is one of the interviewers sent to grill would-be winners on the semi final of The Apprentice.