Opinion poll shows that 54% against Boris Johnson draw up honor roll before dismissal | House of Representatives

Campaigners have called for an end to “unchecked political patronage” as polls showed most people oppose plans for Boris Johnson to appoint new colleagues in the final weeks of his premiership.

Alarms have been raised by the Electoral Reform Society over a proposal by CT Group – a political lobbying firm run by Conservative adviser Lynton Crosby – for the Prime Minister to appoint up to 50 new Conservative lawmakers to ram controversial legislation through parliament.

The leaked document led to Gordon Brown’s conviction and accusations that the Lords are already “bursting at the seams”, meaning more “meaningful checks and balances” in appointments were needed.

Opinium polls showed that 54% of people are against Johnson in drawing up a list of “resignation honors” that could ennoble key allies who supported him during the final days of his reign and urged him to fight on. Only 13% supported the move, while 34% expressed no opinion.

Of voters who supported the Conservatives in 2019, 41% were against the plan and 21% in favor. At the end of July, 2000 adults were surveyed and their answers were weighted to be nationally representative.

Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, told the Guardian that most people are against “Prime Ministers stuffing the Lords with friends and donors as they head for the exit door”.

He said: “Every new peer created will have a lifelong right to sit in parliament, which could mean decades of influence over our laws, as well as costs to the public. How they are elected matters.

“With more than 800 members, the Lords are already bursting at the seams, and with more peerages planned, it is clear that we cannot simply rely on the reluctance of individual Prime Ministers to downsize our bloated House of Representatives.

“Therefore, we urgently need to reform the system so that there are meaningful checks and balances that determine who is appointed to the Lords.

“Ultimately, the prime minister should not decide who makes and controls our laws. It is time to end this system of unchecked political patronage and ensure that all our legislators are elected by the people they serve.”

While previous prime ministers have appointed colleagues at the end of their reigns, Johnson was accused by former Lord Speaker Helene Hayman of trying to “destroy constitutional norms”. She told the BBC: “I’m not sure Boris Johnson understands that having a challenging House of Lords actually improves government policy and legislation.”

The current Lord Speaker, John McFall, wrote to both Tory leaders urging them not to follow suit and inject their own influx of colleagues. Rishi Sunak would have responded, but Liz Truss didn’t.

Analysis by the Institute for Government found that Johnson had made 86 appointments to the Lords in just three years, equivalent to 10% of his current size.

While the House of Lords nomination committee may advise against certain candidates being given peerage, the think tank’s deputy director Hannah White said “when he leaves Downing Street, Johnson will be even less inclined to hold back”.

A government spokesman said that given the number of colleagues stepping down, some new members were essential to keep the upper house of parliament’s expertise and prospects fresh and ensure it could continue to scrutinize legislation. The spokesperson added that successive prime ministers had drawn up dissolution or resignation lists for peerages.

CT Group has said its proposals for strengthening the Lords were an “early working draft” prepared for a think tank to “support the discussion”.

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