The prime minister’s brother Jo Johnson has been nominated for a seat in the House of Lords, it was revealed today.
Boris Johnson has also nominated his chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister, cricketer Sir Ian Botham and several Tory grandees for peerages, a list of nominations published on Friday showed.
Philip May, husband of former Prime Minister Theresa May, is also destined for a knighthood.
It would mark a return to parliament for Jo Johnson, who stood down as an MP last year after disagreeing with the Government’s Brexit strategy.
However, the prime minister has been criticised for ‘cronyism’ and abandoning a long-standing Conservative policy to reduce the size of the House, which will now have more than 800 members.
The SNP MP Pete Wishart said Mr Johnson was giving jobs for life to ‘friends and those who have done him favours’.
Ex-England cricket player and Brexit supporter Sir Ian Botham, 64, declined to comment on rumours he was in line for a peerage earlier this month.
But his name is on the list, alongside newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev and former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson.
Numerous former MPs who rebelled against the Labour position to back Brexit are also being put forward, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin, and Gisela Stuart.
Notable absentees include former Commons speaker John Bercow and Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson.
The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds has been handed a peerage after he lost his seat in last year’s election. The DUP supported the last Conservative Government after Theresa May failed to win a majority.
Leader Arlene Foster said it was a ‘rightful recognition of the significant contribution Nigel has thus far played in both local and national political life.’
Mr Johnson picked his brother, despite the pair taking different stances over Brexit. When Jo Johnson announced he was standing down in 2019, he said he was torn between ‘family and national interest.’
Tory leader Mr Johnson has also used peerages to heal rifts with Conservative former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond after he stripped them from the Tory whip when they defied him over Brexit.
His 36 strong list has been slammed, with the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, pointing out that it would leave the house 830-strong – 200 more members than the House of Commons.
He added: ‘That is a massive policy u-turn. It was only two years ago that the then prime minister, Mrs May, pledged herself to a policy of “restraint” in the number of new appointments. It was the first time that any prime minister had made such a pledge.’
Lord Fowler also criticised the timing of the announcement in the middle of the summer recess when neither House is sitting and able to challenge the appointments.
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