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Tue, 14 July 2020

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By Hft

Jeremy Corbyn puts John Bercow and Tom Watson into House of Lords

Jeremy Corbyn puts John Bercow and Tom Watson into House of Lords
3 min read

Former Commons Speaker John Bercow is set to enter the House of Lords after being recommended for a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn.


Tom Watson, who was deputy Labour leader under Mr Corbyn, is also to receive a peerage in the forthcoming dissolution honours list.

Mr Bercow, who repeatedly clashed with successive Conservative administrations, was the first holder of the office for 230 years not to be immediately ennobled upon stepping down.

In December, a Number 10 source said “no one in this government will be rushing to give Bercow a peerage”.

Instead he is said to have made it onto an eight-strong list of candidates for the upper chamber being put forward by Jeremy Corbyn when he steps down as Labour leader later this year.

But it is unknown if he will sit as a Labour peer or a crossbencher, having entered Parliament as a Tory MP.

He became known later in his career for bringing in liberal reforms to the Commons and his opposition to Brexit, but he started out as hard-right Conservative who was a member of the notorious Monday Club, which called for the “repatriation” of immigrants.

Mr Bercow was also repeatedly accused of bullying behaviour by former staff members while in office, something he strongly denies, making Labour’s decision to reward him with a peerage all the more surprising.

The party declined to comment on the claims, and his prospective nomination could still be vetoed as the House of Lords Appointments Commission must vet all nominees.

Mr Corbyn has also been criticised over the inclusion of his chief of staff on the list for a peerage amid an ongoing inquiry into how she handled allegations of anti-semitism within Labour.

The Jewish Labour Movement said Karie Murphy’s nomination to the House of Lords was “deeply inappropriate and must be rescinded immediately”.

Mr Watson has been nominated by Mr Corbyn despite the pair repeatedly clashing while he was his deputy.

But relations between the pair appeared to have cooled when Mr Watson announced he was quitting as an MP before the election.

In his letter to Mr Watson in response to his resignation, Mr Corbyn said: "I am proud and glad to have worked with you over these four years and I know this is not the end of our work together.

"I’ve always enjoyed our very convivial chats about many things, including cycling, exercise and horticulture. I hope the horseradish plants I gave you thrive."

Sue Hayman, the former MP for Workington who lost her seat at the election, also appears, along with Tony Woodley, 72, the former joint general secretary of the union Unite, Prem Sikka, a professor of accounting at Sheffield University, Bryn Davies, a pensions expert, and Katy Clark, a former aide to Mr Corbyn.

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