One of the co-founders of the gay rights charity Stonewall and the director of a charity that supports the creation of free schools are among 22 new life peers announced by the Queen on Friday.
Michael Cashman, one of three new Labour peers, was one of the founding members in 1989 of Stonewall, and was its chair in the period before it received charity status in 2003. In an earlier acting career, he spent three years on BBC show EastEnders, included taking part in the soap’s first-ever gay kiss. He was a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands from 1999 until standing down earlier this year.
Natalie Evans, one of 12 new Conservative peers, is the director of New Schools Network, which was set up in 2009 and had 16 staff and an income of more than £1.5m in the year to 31 August 2013. She has held the position since January 2013, and was previously the organisation’s chief operating officer. She joined it from the Policy Exchange, a charitable think-tank, where she held the role of deputy director.
Dame Gail Rebuck, a Labour peer, is chair of publishers Penguin Random House UK, and also a trustee of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which is currently the subject of Charity Commission scrutiny over the former Prime Minister’s role in the charity.
A number of the other new peers are charity trustees, including Conservatives Carlyn Chisholm at the National Osteoporosis Society and Dido Harding at Go On UK, which was founded in 2012 and aims to improve the UK’s digital skills.
One of six new Liberal Democrat peers, Julie Smith, is a member of Cambridge City Council and a fellow of Robinson College, which is a charity and constituent college of the University of Cambridge.