HONOURED: Former councillor Guy Black has become a Tory peer
A FORMER Brentwood councillor and one time boss of David Cameron has been awarded a peerage – his first political appointment since representing Shenfield in 1992.
Guy Black was a member of the Shenfield branch of Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Association from 1982 to 1992, and represented Shenfield on Brentwood Council between 1988 and 1992, when he retired from politics.
The 45-year-old former Brentwood School student, whose mother Monica still lives in Hutton, cut his political teeth on his pram harness as his mother pushed him and his twin brother Tim around Shenfield, delivering Conservative Party pamphlets.
Lord Black said he learnt his first real political lesson from Councillor Hilary Bates as she canvassed in the summer of 1982 in Brentwood South, which had always been held by Labour.
Mrs Bates took Brentwood South for the Tories for the first time since the Second World War.
A keen pianist, who formed the Cambridge University Coronation Street Appreciation Society, Lord Black worked at the Conservative Research Department from 1986 to 1989, with David Cameron as his deputy.
He has since held high-profile media jobs, including representing Buckingham Palace, and was director of the Press Complaints Commission for nearly eight years.
He was later appointed spin doctor for Michael Howard when he was Tory leader in 2003.
Since 2005, when the Tories lost to Labour for the third time in a row, he has been working for the Telegraph.
He said: "I am deeply honoured to have been granted a peerage. I greatly look forward to supporting the Prime Minister and the coalition Government in the House of Lords."
Brentwood MP Eric Pickles, who was appointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, preferred not to dwell on how Lord Black's media savvy could benefit the Tories.
He said: "He's a really nice guy. It's great news for us and great news for the House of Lords. Like always, Brentwood is a breeding ground for top politicians."
Black is the Tories' first openly gay peer and Councillor Vicky Davis, the newly re-elected Lib Dem councillor for Pilgrims Hatch, remembers him from 1991. She said: "There was nothing controversial about him – it's just he never had time to be there. He used to turn up about every six months."
Another former associate the Gazette spoke to was less kind, equating Black to Hubert Lane – the much maligned arch rival of Just William in Richmal Crompton's books.