Over the past three years, outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made 86 appointments to the House of Lords, or 10% of its current size, according to analysis by the Institute for Government. It is conventional for outgoing prime ministers to present a resignation honors list and Mr Johnson plans to add more.
Activists have called for an end to “unchecked political patronage” as many oppose the appointment of new peers.
READ MORE: Conservative Party has DAYS to respond to Bring Back Boris petition or face court
An Opinium poll for The Guardian found 54 per cent of people are against Mr Johnson establishing a ‘resignation honours’ list that could see key allies honored with peerages.
Only 13% supported this decision, while 34% expressed no opinion.
Among 2019 Conservative supporters, some 41% were against the plan and 21% were in favour.
Among those Mr Johnson has nominated for lifetime peerages is Evgeny Lebedev, a UK-based Russian newspaper and TV station owner whose father, Alexander Lebedev, a Russian oligarch and former KGB officer, was placed on Canada’s sanctions list earlier this year.
Mr Lebedev can now vote on laws passed and introduced in the UK.
Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, told the Guardian most people were against ‘prime ministers stuffing the Lords with friends and donors as they head for the exit door’.
He said: “Each new peer created gets a lifetime right to sit in parliament, which means potentially decades of influence on our laws as well as expense to the public. How they are chosen matters.
“With over 800 members, the Lords are already packed, and with more peerages planned, it is clear that we cannot simply rely on the restraint of individual prime ministers to alleviate our bloated second chamber.
“That is why we urgently need to reform the system so that there are meaningful checks and balances governing who is appointed to the Lords.
“At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be up to the Prime Minister to decide who makes and oversees our laws. It is time to end this system of unchecked political patronage and ensure that all of our legislators are elected by the people they serve.
The Lord Speaker warned on Monday July 25 that Mr Johnson’s plan to appoint more peers risked undermining “public confidence in our parliamentary system”.
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Lord McFall of Alcluith has written to Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak urging them not to follow Mr Johnson’s approach.
In his letter, McFall said: “An oversized House of Lords, combined with the fact that some recently appointed members have not been particularly active, undermines public confidence in our parliamentary system.
“I’m sure you’ll agree that public confidence in politics, in our parliament and our constitution is crucial for the future.”
A government spokesman said: “Given retirements and departures, new members of the Lords continue to be needed.
“It is quite normal for a prime minister and opposition parties to come up with names for a political peerage list.”
So what do you think? Should Boris Johnson be allowed a resignation honors list? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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