Wed, 17 August 2022

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By Nikki da Costa
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John Bercow could be denied peerage unless he becomes Labour Party member

John Bercow could be denied peerage unless he becomes Labour Party member
2 min read

Plans by Jeremy Corbyn to given John Bercow a peerage could be blocked unless he becomes a member of the Labour Party, it has emerged.

The former Commons Speaker is set to be included on Mr Corbyn’s list of nominations for the dissolution honours list, alongside his chief of staff Karie Murphy and ex-deputy Labour leader Tom Watson.

However, Downing Street has said this may not be in the Labour leader’s gift, due to Parliamentary convention on who he can elevate to the upper chamber.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: "It is a long-standing convention that leaders of the opposition can nominate people representing their party for peerages."

Mr Bercow was first elected as an MP for the Conservatives in 1997, but gave up the Tory whip when he became Speaker in 2009.

The controversial parliamentarian - who regularly angered Tory Brexiteers during his time in the chair - was the first Speaker for 230 years not to be immediately made a Lord upon retirement.

And 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 put forward by Mr Corbyn, despite never representing his party.

Labour refused to comment on any of the claims, and any appointment must be approved by the House of Lords Appointments Commission before becoming official.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth, meanwhile, has said the entire honours system "needs to be swept away".

He told the BBC’s Politics Live: “I think we need an elected senate to replace the House of Lords.

“I think it’s ridiculous that you have this institution where some members are still there because of the hereditary principle, not many, but some are still there because of who their dad or grandad was.

“Both party leaders, whether they’re the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition, stuff it with their friends and their supporters, sometimes the people who’ve given handsomely to their political parties in terms of donations.

“I just think the whole system needs to be swept away, it’s awful and people should be allowed to elect it. What’s wrong with that?”

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