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Peerages were nominated today for cricket legend Sir Ian Botham, LSE director Dame Minouche Shafik and the Evening Standard’s campaigning proprietor Evgeny Lebedev.
The trio, who will sit on the crossbenches of the House of Lords, indicating they will not join any political party, were on a list of 36 people unveiled by Downing Street.
Boris Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson, who dramatically resigned as a minister at the height of the Brexit battles last year citing “the national interest”, was one of the surprise names on the list.
The Prime Minster also put forward a battalion of former MPs, both Labour and Tory, who rebelled against their party leaders to support the campaign for Brexit.
But there was no peerage for John Bercow, the former Speaker who enraged Brexiteers by creatively interpreting Parliament’s rulebook to allow backbenchers to force votes on key decisions.
And Tom Watson, the former deputy Labour leader who unwittingly played a controversial role in promoting false claims of a historic child sex abuse ring at Westminster was also left out.
Sir Ian was one of England’s greatest all-rounders in history, scoring 5,200 Test runs and taking 383 wickets. He also backed the Brexit campaign and shared a platform with Mr Johnson before the referendum.
Egyptian born Dame Minouche was recently tipped to be the Bank of England’s first ever woman governor and is regarded as one of the finest economic brains in the land.
Mr Lebedev is a leading journalist, charity campaigner and supporter of the arts. The owner of the Evening Standard, the Independent and London Live, his journalism has spotlighted causes including vulnerable women, endangered species and child soldiers. He also launched appeals that raised millions for causes ranging from the £13 million Dispossessed Fund and homeless veterans to Great Ormond Street hospital and the recent Food for London campaign that provided free meals to vulnerable people during lockdown.
Among the party political honours, Mr Johnson ennobled his chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister, an ally from City Hall days, and
Former MPs who rebelled against Labour’s position to back Brexit, including former Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey, Frank Field, Ian Austin, John Woodcock and Gisela Stuart.
From the opposite side of the Brexit battle, former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond and ex-minister Ed Vaizey, who were all stripped of the Tory whip for defying Mr Johnson, were made peers.
A knighthood was announced at the same time for Philip May, husband of Theresa May, Boris Johnson’s predecessor in Downing Street.
And former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson will also head to the House of Lords.
Other names included Nigel Dodds, former Westminster leader of the DUP, and ex-MPs Sir Henry Bellingham, Nicholas Herbert, Mark Lancaster, and Sir Patrick McLoughlin.
Two more great names from journalism will sit as peers – former Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley and the former Telegraph editor and Thatcher biographer Charles Moore.
The Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, complained that too many peerages were being created and the House would “soon be nearly 830 strong”.
“It is also a vast pity that the list has been announced within the first few days of the summer recess when neither House is sitting, and the Government cannot be challenged in Parliament,” he continued.
The Liberal Democrats’ leader in the Lords, Lord Newby said Mr Johnson had “abandoned any pretence of reducing the size of the bloated House of Lords”.
Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Based on the average claim of a peer, the 36 new peers are likely to cost £1.1 million a year in expenses from the taxpayer.”
News – Ian Botham, Jo Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev among 36 to receive peerages