SIR ALAN Sugar will take his lead from Andrew Lloyd Webber – created a Tory peer in 1997 – when he hosts major BBC show The Apprentice while serving as a Labour peer, aides to the tycoon remarked to City A.M. yesterday following Tory complaints.
A spokesman for Sugar, set to be made Lord Sugar by Labour under its new “enterprise tsar” role announced in Friday’s Cabinet reshuffle, pointed out Baron Lloyd Webber has paved the way for peers with BBC shows.
This came after complaints from senior Tory MPs including shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who said the two roles are “totally incompatible”. He pointed out that Sugar’s BBC show is on the same topic as his political role, and said he has written to the BBC.
Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, declined to get drawn into the controversy when contacted by City A.M. last night, referring calls to his press team.
Lloyd Webber has hosted numerous BBC programmes including this year’s Eurovision run-up shows, following his creation as a “life peer” by the Tories in 1997.
The aide said Sugar has “no intention” of dropping either job and that the BBC is “fully supportive”.
Famously belligerent Sugar was forced to tackle the BBC bias row after tackling earlier suggestions the enterprise role is just a “publicity stunt”. John Whittingdale, the Tory head of the Culture Select Committee, said over the weekend Sugar “has made no secret of his admiration for Gordon Brown”. The Tory attacks on the reshuffle came as the party celebrated giving Labour a battering in last week’s local elections.