London: In another embarrassment to Prime
Minister David Cameron, the House of Lords vetting body has
blocked Anthony Bamford, chairman of the JCB construction
equipment firm, from becoming a peer, apparently expressing
concerns over his tax affairs.
Bamford, who has substantial business interest in
India, had his nomination rejected by the House of Lords
Appointments Commission after the tax authorities failed to
Earlier, the Conservative-led coalition Government in
Britain was rocked after Chief Treasury Secretary David Laws
resigned over his expenses scandal.
Laws, the Treasury Minister in charge of cutting
public spending, quit last night after it was reported that he
had directed more than 40,000 pounds of taxpayers' money to
his secret gay lover. His decision after 17 days in the jobs
means Laws had the shortest Cabinet career in modern political
The rejection of Bamford's application comes as a
blow to Cameron who had personally recommended him for
ennoblement. It will raise further questions about the funding
of political parties and the rewarding of donors with honours.
Days before the list was published on Friday, Bamford
wrote to Cameron withdrawing his name from the process.
He said he wanted to concentrate on running his
company. A spokesman denied his withdrawal was anything to do
with his name being vetoed by the appointments commission.
He said he was unaware that any concerns had been
raised about his tax affairs.
The Bamford family has donated generously to Tories.
Bamford's firm has given the party 1.5 million pounds, while
Bamford, 64, has donated 86,000 pounds including 10,000 pounds
worth of helicopter rides to Cameron.
The businessman, whose wealth is 950 million pounds,
according to the Sunday Times rich List, was awarded a
knighthood in 1990.
A spokesman for Bamford said: "Sir Anthony was
approached by David Cameron six months ago to be a working
peer with a brief for manufacturing and engineering.
"However, he has decided he would not be able to
devote the time to the House of Lords and feels that he still
needs to commit full time to the affairs of the JCB group.
The new Tory, Lib Dem coalition government assumed
office on May 11 under the leadership of Cameron who assumed
office as country's Prime Minister.
First Published: Sunday, May 30, 2010, 18:12