The latest tranche of Lords appointees have handed over an eye-watering amount of cash to the Conservative Party, new figures show.
Boris Johnson’s resignation honours sparked calls for reform of the system after a host of aides and allies handed peerages and other gongs.
The former prime minister handed peerages to former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, while giving staunch loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel a knighthood and a damehood respectively.
Benjamin Gascoigne, a former deputy chief of staff to the ex-prime minister entered the House of Lords alongside Ross Kempsell, a former political director of the Conservative Party.
Charlotte Owen, a former adviser to Johnson, became one of the youngest peers, while Kulveer Singh Ranger, a former director of transport while Boris Johnson was London mayor, was also be elevated to the Lords.
Speaking on Have I Got News For You, Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye magazine, summed up the list quite perfectly when he said: “Normally we go though the honours list looking for people who are dodgy. This year we went through looking for anyone who wasn’t.”
But new revelations have cast further scorn on the situation.
According to Open Democracy reports, 14 of the 50 Tory peers nominated during Johnson’s time as PM were either already party donors or went on to donate money.
They include billionaire businessmen Michael Spencer and Michael Hintze, as well as multimillionaire banker Peter Cruddas.
Speaking to the newspaper, Willie Sullivan, senior director of campaigns for the Electoral Reform Society, said: “There is a concerning correlation between people who receive peerages and those who donate to political parties, and this creates damaging optics that corrodes trust in our democracy.
“It is time to do away with the untransparent system of Lords appointments and replace it with a smaller democratic upper chamber, where the people of this country – not former prime ministers – choose who sits in Parliament shaping our laws.”
Overall, some £51.8 million was donated by Lords appointees by the parties that nominated them. Just under a quarter (64) of appointees over the last decade were party donors, and almost half (128) have a political connection to party appointees.
The vast majority – £46.8 million – of that was donated to the Conservative Party, or an average of £1.5 million per each of the 27 donors we know gave money to the party.