Outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been called out by many, as The Sunday Times reported he is set to elevate former Commons Speaker John Bercow, as well as his right-hand man Tom Watson and another senior Labour figure, Karie Murphy, to the House of Lords.
Sources in the party did not deny the claim, but have so far declined to comment on The Times' report.
Corbyn instantly faced accusations of hypocrisy for nominating his allies for the top peerage roles, given that he had earlier been critical of the “establishment” as well as David Cameron and Theresa May’s practice of doing so when they quit their posts.
Jeremy Corbyn putting Bercow in the Lord's shows what a nasty, petty, vindictive, hypocritical turd he was.— Fei Esq. 🏴🇬🇧 (@fatfei_) January 19, 2020
Time for Lords reform.@LBC
@RLong_Bailey says she supports the abolishing of the House of Lords, whilst her Leader @jeremycorbyn nominates a known Bully, in John Bercow, becoming a member of said institution. Absolute Hypocrisy. https://t.co/Jv8ER4ag3j— Scratchybeard (@Scratchybeard) January 19, 2020
“And Labour wonder why people think them odd", one weighed in, while another came up with an even more descriptive – although strong-worded – account:
In nominating Bercow for a peerage, Jeremy Corbyn has climbed onto the dining table of 17.4m people, dropped his trousers & filthy underpants, squatted over their plate, grunted, & laid a massive, steaming, curled turd of contemptuous, anti-democratic, insult on their dinner.— badassday (@badassday) January 19, 2020
Many have outright called for the abolition of the “unelected House of Lords”, while some rushed to share their “disgust":
Karie Murphy and Bercow?!?! Seriously? Disgusting https://t.co/oW7vbpHqZ9— Harry Dibbs (@HarryDibbs_) January 18, 2020
It’s not cool when ‘our’ side appoint advisors and former power brokers either. It’s undemocratic stinks of corruption.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) January 18, 2020
Abolish the unelected House of Lords. https://t.co/NnCV0aZ4Tm
Quite a few, meanwhile, rose in Bercow’s defence, singling him out as a speaker:
Always hoped he would. Bercow a good speaker, fair on the whole (which angered Tories) and only doing what convention dictated. Delighted to annoy Tories even more (& payback for J Mann!)— GillieD.🌹🎼 #GTTO JC4PM .🇵🇸 (@GillDay7) January 19, 2020
I think it’s a great decision ... Mr B was an excellent speaker— BeverleyJane ✋#VoteLabour #JC4PM (@beverleyhb57) January 19, 2020
…while some suggested it was “quite a nice troll of Johnson and the Tories:”
Well it's quite a nice troll of Johnson and the Tories.— 🇻🇪Frank Parker #corbynwasright (@Eques4) January 19, 2020
The Tories should have.— LadyDevushkaSW#NHS#GTTO#FreeNazanin🤚 (@irisstylosa) January 19, 2020
Very pleased, he deserved it for standing up for Parliament imo.
(Tin hat on)
It's a brilliant way to stick it to Johnson - although I think that while our second chamber is still unelected, our peerages should be picked by the membership to at least give a little bit of democracy to this sham.— Philip James ♿🇪🇺 (@philipjames9) January 19, 2020
It is unclear whether Bercow would sit as a Labour peer or a crossbencher, as he first entered Parliament as a Tory MP and was even a member of the so-called Monday Club, which called for the “repatriation” of immigrants.
Separately, Corbyn has been criticised for the inclusion of his former chief of staff, Karie Murphy, to the eight-strong list of potential peers, amid a proceeding inquiry into how Labour dealt with allegations of anti-Semitism within the party. For instance, the Jewish Labour Movement referred to Karie Murphy’s nomination as “deeply inappropriate”, calling to “rescind it immediately”.
The politicians’ prospective nomination could still be vetoed, as the House of Lords Appointments Commission is supposed to weigh and vet all nominees.
After its overwhelming defeat in the 12 December vote, Labour is now fully engaged in a leadership race, which will determine who Corbyn will pass on the baton to, and thereby the direction that the party will go post-Brexit.