Politics

Labour tells PM not to accept ‘carousel of cronies’ on Boris Johnson’s honours list

Labour has called on Rishi Sunak to stop Boris Johnson from handing honours to a “carousel of cronies” following reports the list could be published today.

Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock accused Rishi Sunak of having “caved in” to his predecessor’s demands to appease factions within the Conservative Party.

He said some of the appointments appear “very, very dubious indeed” and accused the prime minister of being “too weak” to block them.

He told Sky News: “Some of the people on that list, it just looks like a carousel of Boris Johnson’s cronies and frankly the prime minister has caved in yet again because there’s warring factions in the Conservative Party.”

He suggested the prime minister felt obliged to grant the former prime minister’s recommendations to keep the “Johnson wing of the party quiet”.

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But he added: “Some of the names on there are very, very dubious indeed and the prime minister should not be accepting them.”

The prime minister’s resignation honours are granted by an outgoing prime minister according to tradition but have often attracted controversy.

A prime minister can request the reigning monarch to grant peerages, knighthoods, damehoods or other awards in the British honours system to any number of people.

There had been reports that former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and former Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma were in line to receive peerages, but reports overnight suggest they have been dropped from the list to avoid the prospect of two potentially damaging by-elections.

The Times reported that Mr Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, has also been removed from the list after No 10 raised objections.

Ms Dorries and Mr Sharma were expected to stand down to take peerages, which would have led to two by-elections in Mid Bedfordshire and Reading West, respectively.

Sir Alok holds a 4,000-vote majority over Labour in his Reading West constituency while Ms Dorries – who has already announced her plan to quit as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire at the next election – has a majority of more than 24,600.

However, the Conservatives lost a 20-seat majority in Central Bedfordshire during May’s local elections, putting the council in no overall control for the first time.

One former minister told Sky News: “If we lose Mid Bedfordshire it opens the question of Sunak’s leadership.”

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The Times reported that Ms Dorries’ and Sir Alok’s names have been resubmitted to the House of Lords Appointments Committee for vetting, meaning their peerages could be granted further down the line.

Asked about the reports during his trip to the United States, Mr Sunak said he could not comment on his predecessor’s submission.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper also accused the prime minister of rewarding “failure” by allegedly giving the list the green light.

“The buck stops with Sunak – he must ensure that Johnson’s honours list is put through the shredder.”

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “We strictly do not comment on honours.”

Former prime minister Liz Truss has also reportedly submitted a short resignation honours list.

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