In a dispute concerning political honours for allies of the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his criticism towards his predecessor on Monday (12).
It is customary for outgoing prime ministers to propose honours or appointments to the House of Lords for their aides and close political associates.
However, Johnson’s reputation was marred by a series of scandals, including the controversial “Partygate” lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street, which eventually led to his resignation last year.
The much-anticipated honours list, published on Friday, omitted several names that were expected to be included.
Amidst the unfolding controversy surrounding the honours list, two allies of Johnson, Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams, chose to step down from their parliamentary positions on Friday and Saturday, respectively, thereby triggering by-elections.
Concurrently, Johnson himself made the decision to resign as a Member of Parliament on Friday, alleging that he was compelled to do so due to a plot orchestrated by his political adversaries during the cross-party inquiry into whether he had misled parliament regarding the “Partygate” scandal.
Speaking at a tech conference in London on Monday, Sunak defended his handling of Johnson’s honours list and accused the former leader of asking him to overrule the committee that rejected eight of his nominations to the upper chamber.
“Boris Johnson asked me to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do, because I didn’t think it was right. That was to either overrule the Holac committee, or to make promises to people,” he said.
“I wasn’t prepared to do that. As I said I didn’t think it was right, and if people don’t like that then tough,” he said.
The House of Lords Appointments Commission (Holac), which vets nominations, had confirmed it turned down eight nominations put forward by Johnson but would not comment on who they were.
Sunak’s spokesman later told reporters it was “entirely untrue” that the prime minister or officials in Downing Street removed names from Johnson’s list.