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Johnson to extend Home of Lords numbers regardless of downsizing pledge


Boris Johnson is poised to finish his premiership with extra members within the Home of Lords than when he began, regardless of having beforehand proposed halving the quantity from about 800 to about 400.

Parliament’s higher chamber is seen by many politicians and teachers as having far too many friends — there are 650 MPs within the Home of Commons — and Johnson backed the case for an enormous downsizing when he was London mayor.

In 2015 Johnson joked concerning the case for a “Dignitas strategy” to the Lords — a reference to the Swiss organisation offering assisted dying — and stated the higher chamber most likely wants “about 400 legislators”.

As prime minister, Johnson inherited a plan from his predecessor Theresa Might to chop the dimensions of the Lords to about 600 friends, and he promised to implement it in full.

But since Johnson entered Downing Road in July 2019, there was a small internet enhance within the variety of friends, from 799 to 802. Over three years he efficiently nominated 86 individuals for peerages whilst some members of the Lords retired or give up.

Now the prime minister is getting ready to appoint as much as 30 additional members to the higher chamber, in accordance with authorities officers.

Johnson was already planning to suggest extra individuals for peerages earlier than he was compelled to resign as Conservative chief this month after a revolt by ministers over his conduct.

The variety of nominations can be swelled by how Johnson is anticipating to situation an inventory of resignation honours — together with peerages — as he steps down as prime minister in September.

Folks lined up for peerages embody Paul Dacre, former editor of the pro- Tory Every day Mail newspaper, Michael Hintze, a billionaire Conservative donor, and pro-Brexit historian Andrew Roberts, in accordance with individuals briefed on the state of affairs.

Johnson has already courted controversy together with his nominations for peerages: notably his friend Lord Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian businessman and son of an ex-KGB officer.

The prime minister has additionally elevated other allies to the upper chamber, together with former advisers Lord Eddie Udny-Lister and Lord Daniel Moylan, and Lord Charles Moore, Johnson’s former editor when he labored on the Every day Telegraph.

One Johnson ally stated the creation of peerages throughout his premiership was a deliberate try and tilt the stability of energy in favour of the Conservatives within the higher chamber, the place no political occasion has management.

The ally stated Johnson needed to make sure “there’s a majority within the Lords that displays the federal government’s agenda”.

Lord John McFall, speaker within the Lords and a former Labour minister, has warned Johnson his plan to create extra friends may “undermine public confidence in our parliamentary system”.

Writing to the candidates to succeed Johnson as Tory chief, McFall praised the “train of restraint” proven by Might and contrasted it with Johnson’s 86 nominations for peerages.

Hannah White, deputy head of the Institute for Authorities, a think-tank, stated prime ministers had a accountability to cut back the higher chamber somewhat than enhance it.

“There’s no person who’s making the case that 800 is the best dimension, the other is the case, the accountability needs to be on prime ministers to lower the Home of Lords not preserve it in its present type,” she added.

Darren Hughes, chief government of the Electoral Reform Society, a marketing campaign organisation, stated the Lords had turn out to be a “bloated establishment”.

Downing Road stated: “There’s a longstanding conference whereby people may be nominated for an honour or peerage in recognition of their public and political service. It has additionally been the case beneath successive governments from throughout the political spectrum that prime ministers can draw up a . . . ‘resignation’ record.”

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