Swraj Paul, Baron Paul

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Paul
London Zoo - Animal Adventure - Bust of Swraj Paul - The Lord Paul of Marylebone.jpg
Bust in London Zoo
Born Swraj Paul
(1931-02-18) 18 February 1931 (age 84)
Jalandhar, Punjab
Nationality Indian British
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater Forman Christian College, Lahore; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation Businessman
Net worth £2 billion[1]
Political party

Swraj Paul, Baron Paul, PC (born 18 February 1931) is an Indian-born, British-based business magnate, philanthropist, and Labour politician. In 1996 he became a life peer, sitting in the House of Lords as a Labour member[2] with the title Baron Paul, of Marylebone in the City of Westminster.[3] In December 2008 he was appointed deputy speaker of the Lords; in October 2009 he was appointed to the Privy Council. He is close to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah.

Early life[edit]

According to his official biography, Swraj Paul was born in Jalandhar, Punjab in 1931. His father ran a small foundry, making steel buckets and farming equipment.[4] Paul was educated at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Doaba College Jalandhar Punjab and later obtained BSc, MSc and MechE degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.[5]

Business career[edit]

After leaving MIT he worked for the family business, Apeejay-Surrendra Group in India, which was founded by his father, and was, at the time, managed by his two older brothers Satya Paul and Jit Paul.

In 1966 he relocated to the United Kingdom to get medical treatment for his young daughter, who had leukaemia.[6] He spent a year getting over her death, after which he founded Natural Gas Tubes[5] Starting with one steel unit, he went on to acquire more. This led to his founding the Caparo Group in 1968, which is now one of the leading UK manufacturers of steel products such as, steel tubes, merchant bars, and structurals, as well as high value engineering products for various industries. Caparo currently employs over 10,000 people across North America, Europe, India, and, the Middle East. He stepped down from the management of the Caparo Group in 1996; his youngest son Angad became CEO.[7]

Lord Paul is on the Sunday Times Rich List as the 38th richest person in Britain,[8][9] although he claims to take public transport in London "like everybody else".[7] Since the 1960s he has lived in Portland Place, in central London.[10] He and his family own a dozen flats in the block, each one worth close to a million pounds.[9] He also has a 250-acre (1.0 km2) country estate, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.[11]

Public role[edit]

Lord Paul has held many public positions. In 2006, as part of his parliamentary work, he made a declaration of interest;[12] he was involved with more than a dozen organisations outside his family business and foundation. As long ago as 2003, he had blamed difficulties in the world of business on "greed, coupled with the abdication of personal responsibility"[13] He called for high standards of accountability and transparency in political and business life, acknowledging that "a little bit of scandal can put you behind"[14]

In the field of education, Lord Paul held the Pro-Chancellorship of Thames Valley University in 1997, and Chancellorship in 1998. He has been the chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton since 1998,[15] and, through The Ambika Paul Foundation, recently donated to the university generously to support the refurbishment of its student union centre, subsequently named "The Ambika Paul Student Union Centre", he was present at its official opening in November 2010.[16] Lord Paul is also Chancellor of University of Westminster,[17][18] to which his family trust has given £300,000.[19] He sat on MIT's Mechanical Engineering Visiting Committee between 1998 – 2001.

Lord Paul is a member of the President's Cabinet for Chapman University in Orange, California[20]

Lord Paul has taken an interest in international relations. He was appointed by the government to act as an ambassador for British business from 1998 –2010[21] He was a member of the Foreign Policy Centre Advisory Council.[22] He contested for the chairmanship of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, with an agenda to reduce the gap between the West and the East[citation needed]. Lord Paul was Co-Chairman of the Indo-British Roundtable from 2000–2005.[23][24] He was a member of Panel 2000, an appointment by the Prime Minister to re-brand Britain.[25]

He was the first person of Indian origin to hold the post of deputy speaker of the House of Lords,[26] one of twelve people in that post.[27] He was sworn of the Privy Council on 15 October 2009.[28][29]

He has donated £500,000 to the Labour Party,[30] and is a strong backer of Gordon Brown,[5] being the largest donor to his leadership campaign and offering in 2007 to give "as much as [he] can afford" in the case of an early election.[31] He is also close to the former UK Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown,[32][33] for whom he shows paternal concern[11]

Lord Paul was involved with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London from its inception as a member of the board responsible for the Olympic bid and its submission. He travelled to Singapore in 2005 as part of the bidding team that successfully persuaded the International Olympic Committee to award the games to London.[34] He chaired the Olympic Delivery Committee, part of the London Development Agency, with the job of obtaining the land on which to build the new venues, and delivering the land on time and on budget.

Through the Ambika Paul Foundation, which Paul set up in memory of his daughter,[35] profits from Caparo are channelled into charitable endeavours[36] For example, Paul is an honorary patron of the Zoological Society of London and has funded major projects at the Regent's Park site, including the Ambika Paul children's zoo.[37] The Foundation has established the Ambika Paul School of Technology in Jalandhar, India. Other projects that were funded by the Paul family and bear Ambika's name include the Ambika Paul Mezzanine and Study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lord Paul has been chairman & Trustee of Theirworld and chairman Theirworld Projects Ltd (formerly PiggyBankKids) since 2002.

Awards and honours[edit]

Lord Paul has received various awards and honours including 15 honorary degrees from universities in the UK, USA, India, Russia and Switzerland. In 1983 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, by Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, and the Bharat Gaurav award by the Indian Merchants' Chamber. Freedom of the City of London, 1998; Asian Business Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; Donald C. Burnham Manufacturing Management Award, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, USA, 1995; First Asian of the Year Award, Asian Who's Who, 1987; Asian Woman Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008.[6] PowerBrands Hall of Fame nominated him Global Indian of the Year, 2011. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Corporate Leadership Award, 1989.

He was awarded "International Indian of Decade" for his outstanding achievements in the fields of industry, education and philanthropy at the 20th anniversary of the publication of India Link International, a monthly magazine on 15 November 2013.[38]

Most recently Lord Paul was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Black Country Asian Business Association for his "outstanding achievements in the fields of industry, education and philanthropy".[39]

In 2014 Lord Paul received a further Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work in promoting India-UK educational ties from the Global Skill Tree consortium,an India Based think tank, which hopes to promote India as a global hub of international education through its "Great Place to Study – India" initiative.[40]

In July of 2014 Lord Paul was given the ‘International Icon of the Decade Award’ by the World Consulting Research Corporation at its Global Indian Excellence Summit held in London, this was in recognition of "his outstanding achievements in the fields of manufacturing, education and philanthropy". [41]


In the context of the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal, The Sunday Times reported in October 2009 that Paul had been unable satisfactorily to explain claiming expenses of £38,000 for the period January 2005 to July 2006. By his own admission he had never spent a night at the place he claimed as his main home, a one-bedroom staff cottage. Lord Paul immediately requested the Clerk of the Parliaments to investigate his expenses at the same time repaying, unasked, £41,982 instead of £26,988 – £15,000 more than the House of Lords would have requested at the conclusion of their investigation. The Metropolitan Police opened an investigation concerning these expense claims,[42] but by the end of February 2010 decided there was no case. Lord Paul appeared before the The Sub Committee for Lords Conduct Committee for Privileges and Conduct, a select committee on 17 June 2010 which he described as a 'Kangaroo Court'. He appealed against the Sub Committee's findings and appeared again before the Committee for Privileges and Conduct in October 2010. On 18 October 2010 they published their report, recommending that he be suspended from parliament. The Privileges Committee rejected the Sub-Committee conclusions.

The Privileges Committee concluded that Lord Paul had not acted dishonestly or in bad faith. They determined he had been negligent and acted in ignorance. The Privileges Committee also rejected the Sub-Committee recommendation of six months suspension and reduced it to four months. He had already repaid the disputed expenses. The committee concluded: "We do not feel justified in finding, on the balance of probabilities, that Lord Paul acted dishonestly or in bad faith. However, his actions were utterly unreasonable, and demonstrated gross irresponsibility and negligence. They therefore render him liable to sanction by the House."[43] Lord Paul's suspension was for four months. Lord Paul completely disagreed with their finding, calling it "unreasonable."

Paul tendered his resignation as Deputy Speaker to the Lord Speaker on 1 November 2010. His letter, printed in The House Magazine a week later, expressed his reservations about the process, calling it "a sad saga for parliamentary democracy – an unfortunate series of events having evidently been inspired by the electoral politics of the media". He has spoken on this topic many times since the expenses scandal initially made news,[44] and maintains that wrongdoing had occurred in his case [45][46]



  1. ^ "Birmingham Post Rich List 2014: No.2 - Lord Paul of Marylebone and family (£2bn)". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_paul
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54553. p. 13737. 16 October 1996.
  4. ^ Official brief biography on the Caparo website
  5. ^ a b c "Engineering magnate puts his faith in British steeliness". Interview with the Guardian, 21 November 2008.
  6. ^ a b Asian Woman Awards website
  7. ^ a b "Swraj Paul: Humane capital". The Economic Times. 13 Dec 2007
  8. ^ http://cars.uk.msn.com/features/2013-sunday-times-motoring-rich-list?page=25
  9. ^ a b Times article
  10. ^ Guardian interview Nov 2008
  11. ^ a b "How Sarah Brown charmed the 'Labour Ashcroft'" by Barbara Jones 7 March 2010
  12. ^ 'Select Committee on Economic Affairs Sixth Report:APPENDIX 1: THE FINANCE BILL SUB-COMMITTEE[1]
  13. ^ 15 March 2003. "Greed, irresponsibility troubling business: Lord Paul" The Times of India.
  14. ^ "Lord Paul for high degree of accountability" The Times of India. 3 Jan 2004.
  15. ^ of Wolverhampton bio page
  16. ^ http://www.wlv.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=25362
  17. ^ 2006 Parliamentary list of interests
  18. ^ University of Westminster page
  19. ^ Charity Commission website
  20. ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:B7019eWQq4kJ:www.chapman.edu/about/administration/trustees/members.aspx+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
  21. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldselect/ldeconaf/5/510.htm
  22. ^ See letterhead here
  23. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/Indo-UK-ties-better-than-before-Lord-Paul/articleshow/45852028.cms
  24. ^ http://www.nriinternet.com/NRIpoliticians/UK/A_Z/S/Lord%20Swraj_files/2005/020605_StepDown.htm
  25. ^ http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Panel_2000
  26. ^ UK deputy Speaker is Indian-born
  27. ^ "Lord Paul: Speaking his mind" The Economic Times 18 Dec 2008
  28. ^ Privy Council website
  29. ^ PCO — Orders for 15 October 2009
  30. ^ "MPs expenses: Lord Paul denies he broke rules on residence allowance" The Guardian 11 October 2009
  31. ^ "Donor's pledge fuels early election rumours" The Telegraph 15 Aug 2007
  32. ^ "Lord Swaraj Paul's son weds at London Zoo" The Times of India 11 Oct 2004
  33. ^ "Sarah Brown launches Ambika at P3" 28 June 2008
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ NRI Charities page
  36. ^ Caparo page on corporate responsibility
  37. ^ London Zoo site
  38. ^ "Swraj Paul awarded lifetime achievement prize". The Hindu, 13 Dec 2011
  39. ^ [3] "International Indian of the Decade"
  40. ^ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-25/news/50856012_1_lord-paul-sushma-berlia-indian "Swraj Paul honoured for promoting India-UK Educational ties"
  41. ^ "Lord Swraj Paul hits out at foreign countries for unsolicited advice""
  42. ^ "Three more peers face charges" The Sunday Times 7 February 2010
  43. ^ Privileges and Conduct Committee – Fourth Report – The Conduct of Lord Paul. 18 October 2010
  44. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/ColumnsOthers/A-trial-by-rumour/Article1-634780.aspx
  45. ^ [4] The Guardian, May 2012, MPs' Expenses Scandal: What Happened Next
  46. ^ New Statesman "Exclusive: Lord Paul to end his non-domiciled tax status" Posted by Mehdi Hasan – 9 March 2010 09:02

External links[edit]