UK

Sunak urged to block Johnson from handing honours to ‘carousel of cronies’

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has submitted a resignation honours list (PA)
Former prime minister Boris Johnson has submitted a resignation honours list (PA)

Labour has renewed calls for Rishi Sunak to stop Boris Johnson handing honours to a “carousel of cronies” amid speculation the list could be published imminently.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said the Prime Minister had “caved in” to appease warring factions within the Conservative Party by reportedly accepting his predecessor’s recommendations.

The list, which is said to include around 50 names, is likely to be made public on Friday, according to multiple reports.

Brexit
Stephen Kinnock criticised Rishi Sunak (PA)

Mr Kinnock said that some of the appointments appear “very, very dubious indeed” and accused Mr Sunak of being “too weak” to block them.

He told Sky News: “More evidence of just how weak Rishi Sunak is.

“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.

“They’re so divided and fragmented and the Prime Minister realises that if he wants to keep the sort of Johnson wing of his party quiet he’ll need to… Some of the names on there are very, very dubious indeed and the Prime Minister should not be accepting them.”

It comes after The Times reported that the long-awaited list has been trimmed, with casualties including former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and Sir Alok Sharma, president of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Reports suggest the two Tory MPs have been struck from it to avoid potentially damaging by-elections.

The pair were expected to stand down to take peerages, which would have left Mr Sunak facing two early electoral battles in their seats.

Sir Alok holds a 4,000-vote majority over Labour in his Reading West constituency and a by-election would likely be closely fought by Sir Keir Starmer’s party, which is well ahead of the Tories in the polls.

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 over the main Opposition party.

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

The Prime Minister, asked about the reports during his trip to the US, said he could not comment on his predecessor’s submission.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper accused Mr Sunak 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, despite being the shortest serving prime minister in modern British political history, has also reportedly submitted a short resignation honours list.