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Mr Peel comes over foreign secretary

Do you agree with The Big Issue’s 50 most influential northerners list?

Published on October 28th 2010.


Mr Peel comes over foreign secretary

PEEL Group founder John Whittaker has more clout than anyone else up north, according to The Big Issue in the North's first 50 Most Influential Northerners list, published in the magazine on Monday.

Editor Kevin Gopal said the list picked out individuals who had the ‘greatest bearing on our lives in the north.’

Ken McMeikan of Greggs (right)

“So we chose to look at influence, which is a broad term covering economic clout, political power, cultural impact and more, including who we talk about round the water cooler."

Whittaker comes over Co-op chief Peter Marks and foreign secretary William Hague. Phil Redmond has more sway than Cracker writer Jimmy McGovern, and the owner of Greggs, Ken McMeikan, beats Labour leader Ed Milliband (46).

The only footballer to make an appearance isn't Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard but Manchester Utd captain Rio Ferdinand who charts at 24 and former athlete Brendan Foster makes an appearance at 42. The list features just eight women, including Janet Hemmingway, the head of Liverpool's School of Tropical Medicine and Gee Walker, the mother of murdered Huyton student Anthony Walker, who has become an anti-racism campaigner.

No 1: John Whittaker

To be in the running for the top 50, individuals did not have to be from the north, but needed a base in the north. Chancellor George Osborne is included due to his Cheshire Tatton constituency.

“The results make fascinating reading and say a lot about life in our region,” said Gopal. “But they throw up as many questions as answers. How come there are so few women and people from ethnic minorities?”

Here at Confidential we’re not entirely sure about the list. Mark Elder, leader of the Halle, makes the grade, but no mention of the RLPO's Vasily Petrenko. And where's our Coleen, idol of a million teenage girls? Astonishingly, Herbert and Pete Price are nowhere.

Phil Redmond

The list is below – what do you think?

1. John Whittaker, Peel Group

2. Peter Marks, Chief Executive, Co-operative Group

3. William Hague, Foreign Secretary

6. Ross Warburton, Director, Warburtons

7. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Minister without Portfolio

8. Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, Deputy Chair, Regional Growth Fund andChairman, Port of Tyne

William Hague

9. Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate

10. Frank Field, Birkenhead MP

11. Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

12. Duke of Westminster, Grosvenor Group

13. Trevor Mann, Senior vice-president, Nissan Group

14. Gary Hoffman, Northern Rock

15. Sir Richard Leese, Leader Manchester City Council

16. Sir John Zochonis, Philanthropist

17. Simon Moran, SJM Concerts

18. Tom Bloxham, Founder Urban Splash

19. Peter Stephenson, Chairman, Able UK

20. Phil Redmond, TV producer

21. Amir Khan, Boxer

22. Martin Ainscough, Property Developer

23. Baroness Margaret Eaton, Chair, Local Government Association

24. Rio Ferdinand, Footballer

25. Jessica Ennis, Athlete

26. George Osborne, Chancellor and Tatton MP

27. Peter Kay, Comedian

28. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

29. Edwin Booth, Chairman, EH Booth & Co

30. Fred Done, Bookmaker

31. Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive Manchester City Council

32. Sir Alex Ferguson, Manager Manchester United

33. Alistair Balls, Chair, Centre for Life

34. Mumtaz Khan, Founder, Mumtaz Food Industries

35. James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool

36. Dorothy Thompson, Chief Executive, Drax Group

37. John Timpson, Chief Executive, Timpson

38. Linda Pollard, Deputy Chair, Yorkshire Forward

39. Brian Cox, Scientist

40. David Colin-Thorne, National Clinical Director for Primary Care

41. Gee Walker, Anti-racism campaigner

2. Brendan Foster, Founder Great North Run

43. Jimmy McGovern, TV Writer/Producer

44. Alan Bennett, Writer

45. Janet Hemmingway, Director, School of Tropical Medicine

46. Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition

47. Andrew Stunnell, Communities Minister

48. Sir Mark Elder, Music Director, the Halle

49. Nigel Howarth, Chef

50. Guy Garvey, Singer

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