After a wealthy Indian-origin jewellery tycoon, who has donated more than £300,000 to the Conservatives, was made a member of the House of Lords on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron is accused of “cronyism”.
Ranbir Singh Suri, dubbed the ‘King of Bling’, is founder of Oceanic Jewellers, a Soho-based jewellery wholesaler is said to have personally donated nearly £130,000 to the Conservative Party and a further £183,000 through his company. He is one of 12 Tory supporters out of 22 who have been made life peers.
Paul Flynn, Labour member of the public administration select committee, told the Daily Mail: “Our legislature is being prostituted; jobs are being given out to the highest donors.
Mr Suri, who has been a Tory supporter for more than three decades, is said to have once described Prime Minister David Cameron as “delightful” and a “good leader”.
Conservatives defended Lord Suri – who was estimated to be worth £40 million by the Sunday Times several years ago – as an “upstanding” member of the British Sikh community as well as being a magistrate for more than a decade.
Suri is a founding member of the British Asian Conservative Link which encourages British Asian participation in British politics.
He is also a member of the Renaissance Forum, which gives people who have contributed more than £10,000 to the Conservative Party the chance of an audience with speakers such as George Osborne, William Hague and Eric Pickles.
Eight persons of South Asian descent, apart from Suri, to be made a life peer since the election of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in 2010. They are Dolar Popat (Baron Popat), Raj Loomba (Baron Loomba), Tariq Ahmam (Baron Ahmad), Qurban Hussain (Baron Hussain), Gulam Noon (Baron Noon), Indarjit Singh (Baron Singh) Zahida Manzoor (Baroness Manzoor) and Rumi Verjee (Baron Verjee).