Even the Daily Mail was somewhat shocked at the blazen way Prime Minster Johnson has behaved
Simon Walters writes
For days Boris Johnson has been warning that a 'second wave' is about to hit Britain.
I don't blame him for the second wave of coronavirus that led him to slow down the easing of Covid lockdown measures.
But I do hold him responsible for the second wave of Boris cronies handed peerages yesterday, including the likes of City tycoon and Tory donor Michael Spencer, his own brother, ex-MP Jo Johnson, and newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev.
With reports of a third wave of Conservative peerages coming in the autumn, there must be a risk of a shortage of ermine to line the cloaks they will wear when they take their places on the Lords red leather benches.
The first wave of Boris barons came just seven days after the general election.
Millionaire Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, a close friend of Mr Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, had lost his Commons seat but was conveniently given one in the Lords instead and allowed to carry on as Environment Minister as though nothing had happened.
He even had the nerve to give himself the title Baron Goldsmith of Richmond Park, the constituency that had just democratically rejected him for the second time in three years.
The argument against Prime Ministers being able to pack the Lords with personal and political mates was made forcefully in 2003 when Tony Blair announced plans to appoint more peers.
Blair's proposal was denounced as 'disgusting' by one critic who said: 'Think of the lunches; the hackery; the behind-the-scenes schmoozing and fixing; the quiet words from the Government Chief Whip; the winking, the nose-tapping, the soft belching in the Savoy Grill Room, or Glyndebourne, or Ascot.'
That critic was Boris Johnson.
can't help thinking of all the winking and hackery the Prime Minister must have enjoyed with his brother Jo, also a journalist, over the years.
Or the nose-tapping and soft belches at lunches he has enjoyed with billionaire wine connoisseur Mr Spencer, who has given £5million to Conservative coffers, at restaurants such as the Savoy Grill.
Or the behind-the-scenes schmoozing and fixing at high society soirees hosted by Russian-born culture vulture Evgeny Lebedev, proprietor of London's Evening Standard newspaper.
Lebedev even owned a wolf called Boris.
Twenty four hours after winning the general election Mr Johnson and Miss Symonds attended Mr Lebedev's Christmas party, along with Sir Mick Jagger, Princess Beatrice, David Walliams, actor Matt Smith and David Cameron.
Super-rich Mr Lebedev, son of former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev, is so close to Mr Johnson he was a guest at the fateful dinner at Mr Johnson's London home in February 2016 when Michael Gove finally persuaded him to lead the Brexit campaign. In 2018 Mr Johnson flew to the Lebedevs' villa in Perugia, Italy.
The then foreign secretary was spotted at the airport returning home, dishevelled and hungover.
It is only fair to point out that Mr Johnson has also elevated some of his Tory critics to the Upper House including pro-Remain former Chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.
But there is a distinct air of snobbery about some of the Conservative peerages.
In an obscure Commons career spanning four decades, Sir Henry Bellingham has neither said nor done anything of note. Would he have got a peerage had he not gone to Eton like Boris? Of course not.
Political Peerages 2020
Nominations from the Leader of the Conservative Party
1. Lorraine Fullbrook – former Member of Parliament for South Ribble.
2. Sir Edward Udny-Lister – Chief Strategic Adviser to the Prime Minister and former Deputy Mayor of London.
3. Daniel Moylan – Chairman, Urban Design London and former member of Kensington and Chelsea Council.
4. Andrew Sharpe OBE – Chairman of the National Conservative Convention and ViceChair of Policy Forum.
5. Michael Spencer – Chairman of IPGL (Holdings) Ltd and Centre for Policy Studies.
6. Veronica Wadley CBE – Chair of the Expert Panel for Model Music Curriculum and former editor of the Evening Standard.
7. James Wharton – former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development and Member of Parliament for Stockton South.
8. Dame Helena Morrissey – Former CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30 Per Cent Club.
9. Neil Mendoza – Provost of Oriel College and Non-Executive Board Member of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Nominations from the former Leader of the Labour Party
10. Susan Hayman – lately Member of Parliament for Workington.
11. Prem Sikka – Professor of Accounting at the University of Sheffield.
12. Anthony Woodley – formerly Joint-General Secretary of Unite.
Nominations for non-affiliated Peerages
13. Claire Fox – Director and founder of the Institute of Ideas.
14. Charles Moore – journalist and biographer.
Nominations for Crossbench Peerages
15. Sir Ian Botham – Cricket commentator and Chairman of Durham County Cricket Club.
16. Dame Louise Casey – Former Civil Servant, Visiting Professor King's College London and Cofounder and Chair, Institute of Global Homelessness.
17. Evgeny Lebedev – Owner of The Independent, The Evening Standard and London Live and patron of Space for Giants.
18. Dame Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science
Dissolution Peerages 2019
Nominations from the Leader of the Conservative Party
1. Sir Henry Bellingham – lately Member of Parliament for North West Norfolk and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
2. Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke CH QC – lately Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe and former Chancellor of the Exchequer.
3. Rt Hon Ruth Davidson MSP – Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Central and former Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.
4. Rt Hon Philip Hammond – lately Member of Parliament for Runnymede and Weybridge and former Chancellor of the Exchequer.
5. Rt Hon Nicholas Herbert CBE – lately Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs and former Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice.
6. Rt Hon Joseph Johnson – lately Member of Parliament for Orpington and Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.
7. Colonel Rt Hon John Mark Lancaster TD VR – lately Member of Parliament for North East Milton Keynes and Minister for the Armed Forces.
8. Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH – lately Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales, former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Chairman of the Conservative Party.
9. Aamer Sarfraz – Conservative Party Treasurer and Venture Partner at Draper Associates.
10. Rt Hon Edward Vaizey – lately Member of Parliament for Wantage and former Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries.
Nominations for the Leader of the Labour Party
11. Kathryn Clark – former Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire and Arran.
12. Brinley Davies – Director of Union Pension Services Ltd.
Nominations for the Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
13. Rt Hon Nigel Dodds OBE – lately Member of Parliament for North Belfast and Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Nominations for non-affiliated Peerages
14. Rt Hon Frank Field – lately Member of Parliament for Birkenhead and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
15. Catharine Hoey – lately Member of Parliament for Vauxhall and former Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee.
16. Ian Austin – lately Member of Parliament for Dudley North and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
17. Rt Hon Gisela Stuart – Chair of Wilton Park and former Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston.
18. John Woodcock – UK Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism and formerMember of Parliament for Barrow and Furness.
Philip May. For political service.
Cllr Raymond Puddifoot MBE. For services to the London Borough of Hillingdon.
The appointment of former Brexit party Euro MP Claire Fox To the House of Lords hae caused widespread anger following her refusal to condemn the IRA bomb attack on Warrington.
Labour’s Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols has hit out at the appointment while Warrington South Conservative MP Andy Carter says she should apologise to the families affected.
Her nomination by the Brexit Party for a peerage has created a storm of controversy in Warrington due to her links with the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Following the IRA bomb attack in 1993 which claimed the lives of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball, the Revolutionary Communist Party’s official newsletter defended ‘the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom’.
She was also a member of the Irish Freedom Movement, which backed dissident republicanism.
Why this has not seemed to have incurred the sought of wrath from the Tabloids we have experienced in the past reflects the current state of politics where MS Fox and her former RCP members have achived political influence they only dreamed about but ironically prehaps among the far right.
Fox joined the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) as a student at the University of Warwick. For the next twenty years, she was one of the RCP's core activists and organisers. She became co-publisher of its magazine Living Marxism, which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide.In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting evidence of the genocide was faked.
However the RCP was never a marxist Party indeed not since Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party has a political movement been so misneamed.
Fox stayed with her ex-RCP members when the group transformed itself in the early 2000s into a network around the web magazine Spiked Online and the Institute of Ideas, both based in the former RCP offices and both promoting libertarianism. Author and environmental activist George Monbiot has argued these groups are part of the "pro-corporate libertarian right".
Although I have singled out Fox it is because it has not created outrage , the rest of the bunch hardly
Surley this is the opportunity for Labour leader to announce that the next Labour Government wil abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a second chamber.
Indeed he should be pointing out the hypocrisy of the Tories reducing the number of Commons seats which are democratically elected and yet continue to raise the number of the unelected House of Lords to over 800.
Indeed he should seek to form a cross-Party group that will come up with a united plan for a new second chamber bases on universal suffrage.
The fact that I have had to use the word "universal suffrage" in the 21st century to refer to a IK legislature show the appalling state of UK democracy.