Here is the latest nomination in our series highlighting people David Cameron should consider appointing to the House of Lords, since any Conservative administration formed after the general election would be able to call upon the support of the lowest number of Conservative peers in history.
If you would like to nominate someone, please email Jonathan Isaby with your suggestion, including key arguments for the nomination as well as biographical information. The sources of nominations will be treated confidentially where requested.
No. 53: Simon Weston
Martin Sewell writes:
"The selection of peers will inevitably contain a full complement of politicos and obvious supporters, but my preference would always be to include a few "wild cards" who would bring either special expertise or experience. It will do the party no harm to show a leavening of the predictable mix, thereby emphasising that a David Cameron Government did not lack the confidence to promote independent minds.
"Simon Weston joined the Army at the insistence of his mother who feared he was "going off the rails". He served in Ulster and Kenya before becoming a victim of the Falklands War where he received terrible 48% burns when the Sir Gallahad was hit in Bluff Cove.
"The story of his recovery, which included over 70 operations, and a reconciling meeting with the Argentine pilot responsible for his injuries, became well known to the public via television documentaries. He has used his public acceptance to good effect, becoming an obvious role model for the seriously disfigured. He has undertaken significant charity work on behalf of the Guards Association, the Healing Foundation and the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation. He has also been the recruiting face for the Police Service. For such work he has already been awarded the OBE. He remains grounded and unspoilt by his celebrity status.
"There was a time when Parliament was well stocked with those of military experience; this is no longer the case. The Upper House would particularly benefit from one who would represent the point of view of the ordinary squaddie. He has been critical of the Blair Government's reasons for entry into the Iraq War, advocated the proper equipping of our Armed Services, and in 2008 appeared with David Cameron to announce a Commission of Enquiry into the country's commitment into the Military Covenant. His special interest has led him to question the way we treat our injured service personnel and he has given evidence on the ethics of full face transplants - a subject on which he has modified his opinion. Such openness to revision is a rare quality which might hopefully become contagious in the House of Lords.
"His appointment would present a particular challenge to the Brown Spin Machine which might struggle to weave it into their class war narrative."