Tory tax backers nominated for peerages

By Sam Dale

Two businessmen who backed Conservative tax plans have been nominated for peerages by the party.

Simon Wolfson and Anthony Bamford backed Tory proposals to scrap Labour’s national insurance rise on employers next year.

The policy dominated the first week of the campaign and caught Labour by surprise after scores of businessmen backed the move.

As chairman of construction giant JCB Sir Anthony has overseen nearly £1 million of company donations to the Conservatives in recent years, plus £80,000 in his own name.

And Next chief executive, Mr Wolfson, has given £238,000 to the Conservatives since David Cameron became leader in 2005.

The peerage nominations have been accepted by the appointments commission and will be announced imminently.

Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman, Lord Oakeshott, branded them “two Cameron cronies, who have performed sterling work to his election campaign, getting their reward even before polling day.”

Labour’s list is expected to include Roy Kennedy who was briefly caught up in Tony Blair’s cash-for-honours scandal.

The Liberal Democrats are thought to be getting about six new Lords.

Gordon Brown has promised a referendum on an elected House of Lords if he remains as prime minister.