Honour for MigrationWatch chief

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Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has nominated the founder of a group campaigning for tighter immigration controls for a life peerage.

MigrationWatch UK chair Sir Andrew Green, a former ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia who served as a diplomat for more than 35 years, was granted the honour by the Queen in recognition of his public service.

Also awarded life peerages were former MI5 director-general Sir Jonathan Evans, former clerk of the House of Commons Sir Robert Rogers and academic Professor Alison Wolf.

Downing Street said all four were nominated personally by the Prime Minister for their public service and are expected to sit on the crossbenches.

The Prime Minister has the power to nominate a maximum of 10 candidates for crossbench peerages direct to the Queen over the course of a Parliament.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomed Sir Andrew’s honour, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations to Sir Andrew Green, recognition for a life spent in public service latterly with MigrationWatch.”

Downing Street made clear that the new peer’s work with MigrationWatch played a part in his nomination.

“There are two areas where he has contributed to public service and public life,” said a Number 10 spokeswoman. “He has served for over 35 years in the diplomatic service, and in the decade or more since he has looked to continue to contribute by the work he has done on the migration and immigration debate and education.”

The spokeswoman added: “This is about recognising people who have made a contribution to public service and to public life.

“The Prime Minister believes that their expertise and experience will prove invaluable to the House of Lords.”

Sir Robert was the most senior official in the Commons and senior constitutional adviser to the House and its Speaker from 2011 until his retirement in August, having first entered the service in 1972. He is one of only a relatively small number of former clerks of the Commons to be elevated to the peerage.

His retirement came amid claims by MPs that he had clashed with Speaker John Bercow, and his former post remains vacant following a row over the nomination of Australian Carol Mills to succeed him.

Mr Bercow was forced to announce a “pause” in the recruitment, and a parliamentary committee has been set up to consider proposals to split the role between a clerk and a chief executive.

Asked whether Sir Robert’s reported differences with Mr Bercow had played any role in his nomination for a peerage, the Number 10 spokeswoman said: “Most of the British public would think that serving MPs and Parliament for 40 years is quite a contribution to public life.”

Sir Jonathan joined the Security Service in 1980 and rose to become its director-general from 2007 to 2013.

Prof Wolf is professor of public sector management at King’s College, London, and specialises in the relationship between education and the labour market, with a particular focus on training and skills policy, universities, and the medical workforce.

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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