Three Indian-origin men to be honoured by Queen

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Aug 28, 2015 12:00 IST

Three Indian-origin advisors to Prime Minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne are among those honoured by Queen Elizabeth for services rendered during the last parliament, 2010-2015, which was dissolved before the May elections.

The three are: OBE for Ramesh Chhabra, former special adviser to Osborne, and Ameetpal Gill, director of Strategy, 10 Downing Street, and MBE for Lalini Phoolchand, who is the deputy head of the Direct Communications Unit, 10 Downing Street.

The three are included in the list called ‘Dissolution Honours 2015’, which includes leading figures in the prevision coalition government such as Vince Cable and Danny Alexander (both liberal Democrats).

The government also released a 45-member list called ‘Dissolution Peers 2015’, which attracted criticism for awarding peerages (membership of the House of Lords) to 26 Conservative members.

Each of the three main parties have nominated peers, including to their associates and donors. The new 45 peers take the membership of the House of Lords to 826, making it the second largest upper houses in the world after China.

There have been calls for reforming or even abolishing the House of Lords.

According to the campaign group Electoral Reform Society, while some members of the House of Lords work hard, the upper chamber as a whole costs far too much for an institution that allegedly fails to represent the British public.

“The House of Lords isn’t just an affront to voters, it’s an unacceptable burden on the public purse”, it says.

Labour MP Lucy Powell, whose party also has peers in the 45-member list, said: “David Cameron’s promise to cut the cost of politics lies in tatters. At the election the Tories said they would make the House of Lords smaller, but they have done the opposite, leaving taxpayers with a multimillion-pound bill for David Cameron’s new peers.”

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