The consumer champion Martin Lewis has revealed an application he made to become a member of the House of Lords has been turned down.
Lewis, who is regarded as the one of most trusted people in Britain, said he believed his request for a cross-bench peerage was rejected because he was honest about the limited time he could commit to the role.
In an interview with the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Lewis expressed his desire for “more consensual, cooperative politics”.
The 50-year-old founder of the Money Saving Expert website has become increasingly vocal in recent months on behalf of consumers and financially stretched households, amid surging inflation and a cost of living crisis.
“I never attack the Tories, I attack the policies of the government,” he said.
He told the podcast, hosted by the political journalist Nick Robinson, that he was a member of the Liberal Democrats until the age of 24 but since then had been a floating voter.
He said his attempt to become an independent peer was turned down by the House of Lords appointments commission.
Asked if he wanted a peerage, he said: “I just got turned down again a couple of weeks ago, actually.” He added: “I did this really silly thing and I was honest in the interview.”
He said he told the commission he could only offer a limited number of hours. “I’m very busy with my job, but most importantly I have a nine-year-old daughter and until she is 13, my most important job from 6.30pm until 8pm at night is to be with her and put her to bed.
“I would see my role as being learning for three to five years, with limited input and then gradually over the next five to 10 years committing more time to the House of Lords.”
Lewis suggested this may have represented a stumbling block to his application, although he said the commission invited him to apply again in future.
“I don’t think I was willing to give them the time that they felt was necessary to be in the Lords.”
In a wide-ranging interview Lewis also revealed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse as a schoolboy in Chester: “There were two Jews in the year. And my nickname was Jew. And it originally, I think, had been something like [the actor and comedian] Jerry Lewis or something, something a bit warmer. And then, just in the way that it works, it was shortened.”
A House of Lords spokesperson told the BBC that appointments were “not determined on the basis of caring or family circumstances” and that “some very good candidates” were rejected.