Rishi Sunak under pressure to overturn Boris Johnson’s honors list | Conservatives
Rishi Sunak is facing calls to delay or cancel Boris Johnson’s resignation honors list rewarding dozens of his allies after the former prime minister was reported to police over new Partygate allegations.
Labor and the Lib Dems said Sunak should withdraw the list of around 50 names, which is said to be close to approval and could be published within two weeks.
Some conservatives are also privately baffled as to why Sunak would be willing to go ahead with the list. This should cause headaches for the Prime Minister as it would give peerages to three MPs – Nadine Dorries, Alok Sharma and Nigel Adams – and trigger a potentially difficult by-election.
The prospect of more honors for Johnson’s allies will now be even more controversial after the Cabinet Office passed its pandemic logs to two police forces over concerns about other potential rule breaches during Covid.
Documents detailing a dozen events at both the Prime Minister’s mansion of grace and favor, Checkers, and No 10, between June 2020 and May 2021, were provided by Johnson to his government-appointed lawyers. However, the Cabinet Office, which paid for the lawyers, also received the papers and officials then decided that under the civil service code they had to go to the police.
Johnson has cut ties with government lawyers supporting him during the Covid investigation, with allies saying he has “lost faith” in the system.
His critics said Sunak and Johnson should now drop plans for a resignation honors list, with a series of reports of names submitted including party donors, aides and at one point even included a knighthood proposal for his father, Stanley Johnson.
Angela Rayner, deputy Labor leader and shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said it was impossible for the list to go forward now that Johnson faces new charges.
“With the disgraced former Prime Minister now the subject of new allegations and the subject of multiple investigations, there should be no question of Rishi Sunak endorsing honors for his pals and cheerleaders.
“The Prime Minister should refuse to bid on Boris Johnson and make it clear that he will reject these demands.
“His top priority right now should be tackling the cost of living crisis facing ordinary people, not handing out more rewards for 13 years of Conservative failure.”
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: ‘The days of outgoing prime ministers appointing their peers should be a thing of the past, especially when they leave under a cloud of scandal like Boris Johnson. At the very least, Rishi Sunak needs to step in and delay this list while Johnson is under police investigation.
Chris Bryant, chairman of the House of Commons standards committee, also said the idea of a resignation honors list was ‘completely inappropriate’ as the former prime minister faces new allegations of violation of the rules at Checkers.
Johnson is also still under investigation by the House of Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether he misled Parliament by ensuring that all Covid rules and guidelines were followed in the No. 10.
A Tory MP said it ‘didn’t make sense’ for the Prime Minister to let Johnson give peerages to Dorries, Sharma and Adams, when it was going to cause him so much trouble, and it would be ‘a nightmare’ for the Conservative party headquarters. spending time and money on by-elections.
However, others said the furor around Johnson had little repercussion this time around as he was no longer relevant. Tobias Ellwood, Tory MP and former Johnson critic, said: ‘I don’t think this is gaining traction as there is momentum behind Rishi Sunak as we enter a calm and measured period of British politics after the turmoil of the last two years. . It is put into perspective. There is noise, but the absolute majority of MPs are focused on getting back to what we do well and supporting statecraft in Number 10.”
The party has embarked on a furious round of fundraising in recent months, with Mohamed Mansour, a billionaire former minister in Egypt’s Mubarak government and chief treasurer of the Tories, handing over £5m this week for his campaign efforts – his biggest one-off donation in over 20 years. Many former Tory treasurers have subsequently received honours, but this tends to happen after they leave office. His spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on whether he was lined up for a peerage, but No 10 said he was not.
No 10 source has previously suggested that Sunak thinks it’s fair for Johnson to get his own roster. Liz Truss, who was prime minister for only a few weeks, is also expected to get one after Johnson’s settlement.
Earlier on Wednesday, Downing Street denied Johnson was the victim of a politically motivated fender bender, after his allies reacted with fury to news of the latest police involvement in the Partygate allegations.
No 10 stressed that Sunak had no involvement in the decision to hand over Johnson’s pandemic diaries, saying they had “not seen the information or material in question”, adding that ministers did not had “no involvement in this process and were only informed after the police were contacted”.
Johnson said he was currently “unrepresented” in the Covid investigation and was in the process of loading new lawyers. While Johnson is confident taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for his new legal team, he admitted in a letter to the Covid Inquiry published on Monday that the Cabinet Office has yet to “agree on funding and other arrangements practice”.
However, the decision to hire its own lawyers raised fears that the taxpayer bill could be considerably higher. Tory MPs suggested his decision to avoid support from the government’s legal service meant he would face a cap on the costs incurred in commissioning a new law firm.