Boris Johnson “bullied” the Prime Minister into accepting his appointment of allies to the House of Lords, Parliament has been told.
Former London mayoral candidate Sean Bailey, who was photographed with Tory aides at a mid-lockdown social gathering, was among seven nominees put forward for a peerage as part of the former PM’s resignation honours list.
Others joining the unelected chamber are high-profile Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and former No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.
However, former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and ex-minister Nigel Adams were not among them.
Mr Johnson’s camp accused Rishi Sunak of having “secretly blocked” their peerages, amid a public spat between the current and former prime ministers.
In response, Ms Dorries and Mr Adams both announced they were immediately standing down as MPs – triggering by-elections.
Pointing to the prospect of the new intake to the upper chamber, Labour former minister Lord Foulkes of Cumnock told Parliament: “We will have an influx of new talent into this House – all of whom, sadly, appallingly and disgracefully, will be Conservative members, with no new opposition peers at all.
“This list, put forward by Mr Boris Johnson, who bullied the Prime Minister into accepting it, is very interesting in many ways.”
Labour peer Lord Grocott also argued it had implications for the political balance of the Lords.
He said there was a “growing and alarming disproportion” between the number of peers on the Government benches and members of the opposition.
According to the Parliament website, there are currently 261 Conservative members, 174 Labour and 83 Liberal Democrat.
Lord Grocott said: “It was never envisaged that the Government should have a political majority in the House of Lords, and it had never happened until very recently, under this Government.”
He added: “It raises an even more significant point – this is not a threat but an observation – that, should my beloved party reach the objective to which it is devoted at the moment and in 18 months we swap sides, for the Labour Party to get anything like the numerical advantage that the Conservative Party has as the party of government at the moment would involve the appointment of around 100 new Labour peers.
“Some might say that is not enough, but I am a moderate man.
“If the Government ignore this and the governing party lose the election, which I fervently hope it will, it will have to face that and raise no objections whatever if the situation arises in which a large number of Labour peers are appointed.”
Even when in office, Mr Johnson faced criticism over the number of appointments he made to the Lords, despite calls to slim down the chamber.
The make-up of nominations, including political donors and his own brother, also fuelled accusations of “cronyism”.
Published: by Radio NewsHub