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Mon, 20 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Boris Johnson Says Rishi Sunak Is "Talking Rubbish" About Honours List Row

Rishi Sunak spoke at London Tech Week on Monday (No 10)

2 min read

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has accused Rishi Sunak of "talking rubbish" about his honours list, which has caused friction between Johnson and the current No 10 team over the last few months.

Sunak had said that Johnson asked him to overrule the House of Lords Commission Committee or to "make promises to people" over his controversial honours list.

However, Johnson has now denied this was the case. 

"Rishi Sunak is talking rubbish," Johnson said.

"To honour these peerages it was not necessary to overrule HOLAC, but simply to ask them to renew their vetting, which was a mere formality."

Speaking at London Tech Week, Sunak suggested that he had refused Johnson's requests to get the former prime minister's entire honours list through the House of Lords, when asked whether No 10 had meddled with the list. 

Number 10 has previously denied removing the names from it, with sources close to Johnson claiming that it was involved, or, at least, withheld crucial information from the former PM about who had been removed by HOLAC.

"When it comes to honours and Boris Johnson: Boris Johnson asked me to do something that I wasn't prepared to do, because I didn't think it was right," the Prime Minister said. 

"That was to either overrule the HOLAC committee or make promises to people. 

"I wasn't prepared to do that because I didn't think it was right and if people don't like that, then tough."

The room applauded Sunak's comments, and he went on to make a commitment to "change politics".

"When I got this job, I said I was going to do things differently because I wanted to change politics so that's what I'm doing," he continued.

"And I'm keen to change how this country works."

Since resigning as prime minister last year, Johnson had put forward at least 16 aides, colleagues and friends for peerages, with four sitting Conservative MPs rumoured to be among them. 

The list was held up as vetting procedures took place on Johnson's list, which also reportedly included his father Stanley Johnson. 

The commission ruled that four Tory MPs would not be allowed to hold on to their Commons seats and move to the Lords at the next election.

There has since been back and forth between Johnson and No 10 over who would make the final list, and former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and MP Nigel Adams quit as MPs with immediate effect last week after it emerged they did not make the cut. 

Boris Johnson also quit as an MP, leaving the Conservatives facing three by-elections.

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