Government shows some appreciation to business world with peerages for Michelle Mone and Ruby McGregor-Smith - but they're in the minority

Emma Haslett
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The Queen
The Queen will award peerages to 56 people, including 30 in politics - and only three in business (Source: Getty)

It's a surefire sign the pomp and circumstance of an election has drawn to a close when the government unveils its list of dissolution peerages.

Included in this year's list were the usual suspects - including some of the Liberal Democrats' fallen brethren (Ming Campbell, Lynne Feathersone) as well as former chancellor Alistair Darling and ex-foreign secretary William Hague.

But conspicuous by their absence in this year's list were leading business figures. Although Ultimo founder Michelle Mone, Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith and Greenhill Europe chairman James Lupton are all set to be honoured, the rest of the list was decidedly... business free.

Of the 56 people being honoured, more than 30 are in politics, while three are in business (although three others are either executive or non-executive directors of companies alongside their political careers), five are civil servants, one's in education and two are in other fields. Given the central role of the private sector in helping to prop up the economy during the last parliament - that seems a little mean. City A.M. has contacted Downing Street for comment on that point.

Also not present among the names were former business secretary Vince Cable and former Treasury minister Danny Alexander - who were both reported to have turned down the offer of a peerage back in May.

By contrast, among the peerages announced this time last year were West Ham vice-chairman and Apprentice star Karren Brady, TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding, former CBI Scotland chair Nosheena Mobarik, ex-M&S boss Stuart Rose, Tech City chair Joanna Shields, Penguin Random House chairman Gail Rebuck, and jewellery entrepreneur Ranbir Suri.

The business people who made it

Ruby McGregor-Smith, chief executive, Mitie

One of the few female FTSE 250 chief executives - and the index's first female Asian boss - McGreggor-Smith has fought for women in business, including chairing the government-backed Women's Business Council, which is designed to champion women's contribution to the UK's economic growth.

"As a working mother with two children, I know the challenges faced in balancing a career and family," she told The Independent last year.

James Lupton, chairman, Greenhill Europe

Former Barings bank executive and Tory donor Lupton is a busy man: not only is he a joint treasurer of the Conservative Party. but he also sits on the board of the British Museum.

However, Lupton is also rumoured to have vouched for controversial charity Kids Company shortly before it was put into liquidation.

Michelle Mone, founder, Ultimo

Mone is a well-known face: having founded lingerie brand Ultimo with her husband in 1996, she was appointed the government's small business tsar last month, with instructions to encourage businesses in run-down parts of the country.

After she was given her new role, Mone announced her resignation from the board of her "beloved Ultimo" with a tearful tweet last week. "It's time for you to flourish and start your next chapter," she said. Aaaah.

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