Good Lord? Starmer’s gofer Evans is lined up for a peerage

Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, delves through some silly season speculation to discover that one of Alison Butler’s exes could soon be heading for the red benches

Nice drop of red: David Evans

David Evans, the former Croydon business owner who was an aide to Tony Blair and is now the Labour Party’s General Secretary, is being lined for a peerage along with left-leaning celebs Gary Lineker and Feargal Sharkey if Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister at the next General Election.

That’s according to a report at the weekend, which speculate that after the splurge of Tory enoblements following a succession of controversial resignation honours lists from failed Conservative Prime Ministers, any Labour PM will need at least 98 new peers to balance things up in the House of Lords.

Evans was appointed as the Labour Party’s most senior executive in May 2020, soon after Starmer became leader. Since Evans has been in charge, he has overseen a drastic fall in party membership, discontent in Labour’s relationship with some trades unions, and a purge of many members on the left.

Previously, based in offices at East Croydon, Evans had run The Campaign Company, a public relations outfit that worked for various organisations, in the private and public sector. Evans’ company landed more than £200,000-worth of work from Croydon Council after Labour took control of the Town Hall in 2014.

Evans, who ran Blair’s General Election campaigns in 1997 and 2001, had masterminded Croydon Labour’s local election nine years ago, when working closely with Tony Newman and Alison Butler, the leadership duo who between them did much to bankrupt the borough.

This week, writing in the New Statesman, Kevin Maguire, the associate editor (politics) for the Daily Mirror, provided a list of likely Labour Lords and Ladies should Starmer, as expected, move in to Downing Street after a General Election is held, some time between now and December 2024.

Maguire said that he had heard the names “in recent weeks touted in Labour circles for peerages should the party win an election”.

Maguire wrote: “Whether Starmer axes the Lords or not, he needs to appoint dozens to stifle the Tories advantage of 98 (270-172) in the unelected chamber.

On the list: Lord Lineker of Filbert Street?

“So elevations are possible for Iain Anderson, Margaret Beckett, Luciana Berger, Mark Drakeford, Michael Dugher, David Evans, Harriet Harman, Margaret Hodge, George Howarth, Ivan Lewis, Gary Lineker, Deborah Mattinson, Feargal Sharkey and Sharon White.”

Only another 84 to go then…

Maguire’s list comprises many of “the usual suspects”, retiring MPs and time-servers, the likes of Beckett, Harman and Hodge who are standing down from the Commons at the next election, and Drakeford, who has announced he is to retire as Labour leader at the Welsh Assembly.

Among some of the other names, Mattinson is Starmer’s “director of strategy”, while White is the CEO of the John Lewis Partnership, who according to sources in the City could be in need of a new job very soon…

Sharkey is the lead singer of the 1970s punk group The Undertones, the only band ever to have one of their records repeatedly played back-to-back on John Peel’s BBC radio show. In recent years, Sharkey has become an environmental campaigner, doing much to focus attention on the amount of shit the privatised water companies are pouring into our streams and rivers and into our coastal waters.

Lineker is best known as the presenter of the BBC’s Match of the Day football programme, who regularly winds up the gammons by daring to have an opinion and actually expressing it. He was also a former professional footballer, who played at the highest level, as well as for Tottenham Hotspur.

Those appointed to the unelected second chamber usually take a title for life – for instance: “Baron Evans of Penge” has a certain dull ring to it… – and can claim a £332 per day attendance allowance, plus travel expenses and subsidised restaurant facilities at the Palace of Westminster. Plus they often score a few plum invites to the likes of Wimbledon Centre Court, the Chelsea Flower Show and the Royal Opera.

Unlawfully obtained: Labour officials circulated hacked data. They never notified the police

But they may also be subject to closer scrutiny by the authorities, including the likes of Special Branch and the security services, who may want to know more about those recommended for peerages who have been implicated in the unlawful possession of illegally hacked files, while presiding over an organisation whose own data protection practices have been a complete shambles.

The last significant Croydon political figure to be handed this Establishment equivalent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket was Gavin Barwell, the former MP for Croydon Central, who was made Baron Barwell, of Croydon in the London Borough of Croydon in Theresa May’s resignation honours in 2019 (he’d worked as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff for two years).

Political adviser: ‘Lord’ Gav Barwell

“Lord” Barwell has developed a non-attendance record to rival that of Tory MP Nadine “Nads” Dorries.

He has attended only two votes in the House in the past two years, and he hasn’t made a speech in the Lords since November 2020.

He officially applied for indefinite leave of absence from the Lords earlier this year, shortly after he was found to be in breach of the House’s code of conduct for not registering clients to his personal consultancy business.

An investigation followed a formal complaint submitted by an Inside Croydon reader.

He may be away for some time: Barwell has recently established another firm, Northstar Advice Ltd.

Read more: #TheLabourFiles: Source of hacked data worked for Evans
Read more: Dewey pleads guilty to possessing indecent images of children
Read more: ‘No records’ after council hired Starmer ally to advise leader

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3 Responses to Good Lord? Starmer’s gofer Evans is lined up for a peerage

  1. David White says:

    I was at a meeting yesterday where Ken Loach, arguably Britain’s greatest living film director, was asked if he’s ever been offered a knighthood or a peerage. His reply? “Who would want to be a member of that club?”
    Looking at the list of hopefuls mentioned in the article (Lineker and Sharkey excepted) I can see his point.

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    That £200,000 quid for Evans from the Council reminded me of a little observation someone made around the time of the expenses debacle.

    Labour members are getting caught fiddling pennies, but it takes a good Tory to fleece the public purse for millions for all sorts of wheezes.

    After all they are more organised and bare their posteriors to a richer group of benefactors who are not adverse to giving a free hole a good rogering to ensure that particular mother lode is fully exhausted before moving on to the next orifice!

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