Community health councils chief Toby Harris has been made a working peer, taking the Labour whip in the Lords.

The news was widely taken to explain why he had decided to quit as director of the Association of CHCs for England and Wales to pursue a 'portfolio career'.

Mr Harris's decision followed controversy over his acceptance of a non-executive directorship with London Ambulance Service trust, which many believed to be in conflict with his role as head of the CHC movement.

Geoff Ryall-Harvey, chief officer of Chester and Ellesmere Port CHC, which initiated a bid for a say in the new director's post, said: 'It is easier to go portfolio when you have the facility of going to the Lords whenever you have a slack portfolio day.'