UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has conceived a plan to eliminate the overwhelming pro-Brussels majority in the House of Lords by flooding it with dozens of Brexiteers, government sources revealed last night, according to the Express.
The prime minister wants to ennoble business leaders who financed the successful Vote Leave campaign in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum in a bid to crack down on anti-Brexit bias. A source at Number 10 said:
“There are many unsung heroes of Brexit whose contribution to the country’s decision to leave the EU deserves recognition and who have more to contribute to the national debate about the country’s future. The Prime Minister believes we have to address the overwhelming domination of the House of Lords by Remainers who are out of step with millions of ordinary voters”.
Among the figures mentioned as a possible candidate for peerage is Tim Martin, the founder and boss of the pub chain Wetherspoons. Martin, who vociferously advocated for Brexit, is understood to have donated more than £200,000 to the campaign.
Other prominent Vote Leave donors include supermarket billionaire Peter Hargreaves and hedge fund chiefs Sir Michael Hintze and Crispin Odey.
Johnson’s allies say he has ruled out a peerage for ex- UKIP leader Nigel Farage, currently heading the Brexit Party, which is seen as a threat to Tory election aspirations.
Plan for Taking on the Lords
Johnson is reportedly seeking drastic measures to secure a withdrawal from the EU in an effort to sidestep the mistakes of his predecessor Theresa May. The former prime minister suffered a succession of defeats in the upper house over her Brexit plan.
Under the plan, which is still in the early stages of discussion, the prime minister will use his powers to create working Tory peers, rebalancing the political composition of the chamber.
At present, the Tories hold 290 seats in the House of Lords, Labour has 178, and the Lib Dems have 95.
183 more belong to non-party crossbenchers.
An initial six new Tory peers are expected to join the Lords in the coming months after the prime minister recently submitted a list to the Cabinet Office’s Honours Committee.
It is said that May’s former Downing Street advisers Gavin Barwell and Robbie Gibb are to be recommended for peerages.
But Downing Street insiders believe the prime minister will create dozens more peers to bolster his support in Parliament if he secures a Commons majority at a snap general election later this year or early in 2020.
House of Lords Stalls Progress on Brexit
Since the referendum vote to quit the EU in 2016, the House of Lords has repeatedly frustrated the government’s Brexit plans.
In March 2017, the peers voted 366 to 268 to pass an amendment to legislation drafted to give the prime minister powers to trigger the Article 50 EU departure process, thus forcing the government to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal.
In June 2018, the House of Lords inflicted a further defeat on the government over its Brexit plans. Peers voted in favour of an amendment to the EU Withdrawal that would give Parliament greater powers to block a no-deal Brexit.
Last March, the unelected chamber passed an amendment to a trade bill calling for the government to negotiate a customs union with the EU.
This past July, the Lords passed an amendment ensuring that Parliament sit in the weeks leading up to the EU’s 31 October deadline in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit.
The idea of addressing the issue of humiliating defeats suffered by the government at the hands of the Lords is not new, with senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg, currently leader of the House of Commons, urging Theresa May in 2016 to create 1,000 new Tory peers to apprehend the Lords blocking Brexit legislation.