Labour Party general secretary Ray Collins and businessman Michael Bishop, who are both gay, are to become peers.

Mr Collins became Labour’s general secretary in 2009 but announced his intention to step down this week. He will remain in his post until a replacement is found.

Last year, he was ranked the ninth most powerful LGBT person in British politics by PinkNews.co.uk.

The former union official is one of 54 new working peers announced by Downing Street today and will join the Labour benches.

Mr Bishop, 68, the former owner of BMI, was one of the first openly gay senior executives in Britain.

A former chairman of Channel 4, he ran BMI from 1972 before selling his 50 per cent stake to German carrier Lufthansa for £223 million in 2009.

He will become the second out gay Conservative peer, after Guy Black, the former director of the Press Complaints Commission, who was appointed in July.

Other new Labour peers include Dame Joan Bakewell and former MP Oona King.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes was made a Conservative peer, while former MP Susan Kramer becomes a Liberal Democrat peer.

Former head of the Army Sir Richard Dannatt will sit as a cross-bencher.