Alan Sugar to work for his old foe David Cameron as ‘enterprise tsar’
Prime minister is said to have once told a journalist that he ‘can’t bear’ the Apprentice star.
Businessman and TV star Alan Sugar has been appointed as David Cameron’s new enterprise tsar – despite having clashed with the prime minister in previous years.
The appointment is part of a drive to encourage more young people to start up their own businesses. According to ministers, Lord Sugar will "bang the drum for apprenticeships and enterprise".
The snaring of the once-Labour-friendly peer is being seen as something of a coup for the Conservatives.
Lord Sugar performed the same role for Gordon Brown when he was in Number 10. But he quit the Labour Party last year, saying he had "lost confidence" in the party under Ed Miliband's leadership because it had made a "policy shift moving back towards what Old Labour stood for".
However the appointment is also awkward for the Tories because Lord Sugar is said to have previously dismissed Cameron a two-faced lightweight.
In 2008, the Daily Mirror reported that Cameron told a journalist: “I hate both of them. I can’t bear Alan Sugar. I like TV to escape.”
Lord Sugar is said to have replied: “I’m glad he can’t bear me. Perhaps he will stop asking people to sound me out if I want to meet him and defect to his party.”
In the coming months, Lord Sugar will carry out a series of roadshows events where he will speak to school leavers and businesses. He will also champion the Government’s apprenticeships programme.
Commenting on his new job, Lord Sugar said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this challenge. I built successful businesses with the support of hundreds of talented young people who learned their skills on the job – exactly the kinds of skills you learn in an apprenticeship. But not enough of our young people know about apprenticeships and what they offer, and too few feel empowered to set up their own business.
“I’ll be travelling the length and breadth of this country to tell young people why apprenticeships are a great way for them to build their skills – and talking about the opportunities for starting their own business, hopefully instilling some entrepreneurial spirit.”
Skills minister Nick Boles said: “We want every young person in Britain to get on and build a great life for themselves, whether it’s by starting an apprenticeship or setting up their own business. Lord Sugar has huge credibility among young people and I am delighted that he has agreed to help the government bang the drum for apprenticeships and enterprise."