The Times executive editor Daniel Finkelstein on his decision to become a Tory peer

The Times executive editor Daniel Finkelstein has been appointed to the House of Lords as a Conserva

The Times executive editor Daniel Finkelstein has been appointed to the House of Lords as a Conservative peer - Credit: Archant

North London journalist and new peer Daniel Finkelstein has revealed he was walking on Hampstead Heath when he first heard about being considered for appointment to the House of Lords.

In an exclusive interview with the Ham&High, the executive editor of The Times and former student of University College School, in Frognal, said he received a tip-off before formally being asked about the role.

Mr Finkelstein, 50, said: “When I was first called to be asked what I would think about being included on the list of peers, I was walking with my children down Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath.

“I went to school in Hampstead and I also lived in East Finchley for a long time, so I love going to Hampstead Heath.”

The prominent political columnist explained that he was delighted, albeit not overly surprised, to receive the official invitation to join the Conservative Benches from Prime Minister David Cameron.

“It is thrilling to be asked to do something like that,” said Mr Finkelstein, who will continue writing for The Times. “I feel that, with opportunities like this, it’s one of those that you can say ‘no’ to in another life.”

He added: “By the time the Prime Minister called me, I definitely wanted to do the role. It’s a real honour. I had been tipped off by somebody that he was going to call me, so I wasn’t totally surprised.”

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Mr Finkelstein, who told the Ham&High Young Readers’ Edition in May that he still has profound political ambitions, said that he hopes to place particular emphasis on a series of urban-related policies.

“I’ve always been really interested in a range of policies that might be called ‘city policies’ – ranging from urban planning to transport – and questions on social and community cohesion,” he said.

“I’ll definitely be a voice for what I regard as a bundle of ‘liberal’ issues, including the importance of courts of human rights, the freedom of the press and several others.

“You are never asked about what you might say on a certain issue. The Prime Minister expects me to be independent and open-minded, and hopes I can make a good contribution in that role.”