BREXIT HE­ROES TO BE MADE LORDS

Daily Express - - FRONT PAGE - By Macer Hall Po­lit­i­cal Editor

BORIS John­son is plan­ning to flood the House of Lords with dozens of “Brexit he­roes”, it was re­vealed by Gov­ern­ment sources last night.

In an at­tempt to wipe out the over­whelm­ing proBrus­sels ma­jor­ity in the up­per house and a move aimed at re­bal­anc­ing the po­lit­i­cal make-up of West­min­ster, the Prime Min­is­ter wants to re­ward key fig­ures in the ef­fort to quit the EU with peer­ages.

He is un­der­stood to be par­tic­u­larly keen to en­no­ble busi­ness lead­ers who bankrolled the suc­cess­ful Vote Leave cam­paign in the run up to the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum.

One busi­ness fig­ure who has been men­tioned as a pos­si­ble can­di­date for a peer­age is Tim Martin, the founder and boss of the pub chain Wether­spoon, who do­nated more than £200,000 to the cause and been an out­spo­ken

ad­vo­cate of Brexit. But al­lies say the Prime Min­is­ter has ruled out a peer­age for Nigel Farage – the for­mer Ukip leader who now heads the Brexit Party that is threat­en­ing Tory elec­tion hopes.

A Gov­ern­ment in­sider yes­ter­day said: “We’re not go­ing any­where near Farage.”

Mr John­son’s se­nior aides are said to be dis­cussing the plan af­ter un­elected peers’ re­peated at­tempts to frus­trate the Brexit process un­der­mined pub­lic trust in West­min­ster.

A No10 in­sider said: “There are many un­sung he­roes of Brexit whose contributi­on to the coun­try’s de­ci­sion to leave the EU de­serves recog­ni­tion, and who have more to con­trib­ute to the de­bate about the coun­try’s fu­ture.

“The Prime Min­is­ter be­lieves we have to ad­dress the over­whelm­ing dom­i­na­tion of the House of Lords by Re­main­ers who are out of step with mil­lions of or­di­nary vot­ers.” Mr John­son is thought to want to fill the Lords with Brex­i­teers af­ter watch­ing his pre­de­ces­sor Theresa May suf­fer a string of de­feats in the up­per house over her EU de­par­ture plans.

On some key is­sues, Mrs May’s Gov­ern­ment lost by mar­gins of more than 100 votes.

Se­nior fig­ures in Mr John­son’s team be­lieve the is­sue must be ad­dressed to give the Gov­ern­ment more lee­way to make rad­i­cal re­forms as the coun­try en­ters a new era out­side the EU.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s se­nior ad­viser Do­minic Cum­mings – who mas­ter­minded the Vote Leave cam­paign – is push­ing for a root-and­branch over­haul of the Civil Ser­vice and the wider po­lit­i­cal sys­tem to make the Gov­ern­ment more re­spon­sive to vot­ers’ con­cerns.

The Tories cur­rently hold 290 seats in the Lords while Labour have 178 and the Lib Dems have 95, with 183 more be­long­ing to non-party cross benchers. Mr John­son’s plan is at an early stage but six new Tory peers are ex­pected to join the up­per house in the com­ing months af­ter the Prime Min­is­ter re­cently sub­mit­ted a list to the Cab­i­net Of­fice’s Hon­ours Com­mit­tee.

For­mer Down­ing Street ad­vis­ers Gavin Bar­well and Rob­bie Gibb are both said to be on Mrs May’s res­ig­na­tion hon­ours list.

But Down­ing Street in­sid­ers be­lieve the Prime Min­is­ter will cre­ate dozens more peers to bol­ster his sup­port in Par­lia­ment if he se­cures a Commons ma­jor­ity in a snap gen­eral elec­tion later this year or early in 2020.

Other prom­i­nent Vote Leave donors in the run­ning for “Brexit hero” peer­ages in­clude su­per­mar­ket bil­lion­aire Pe­ter Har­g­reaves and hedge fund chiefs Sir Michael Hintze and Crispin Odey.

Mr John­son is also ex­pected to come un­der pres­sure to en­no­ble in­flu­en­tial Euroscep­tic politician­s, such as Tory Euro MP Daniel Hannan and Dou­glas Car­swell, the for­mer Clac­ton MP who switched from the Tories to Ukip.

The House of Lords has re­peat­edly frus­trated the Gov­ern­ment’s Brexit plans ever since the ref­er­en­dum vote to quit the EU in 2016.

Since then, around 20 proBrus­sels Tory rebels have joined op­po­si­tion peers to help de­feat the Gov­ern­ment.

In March 2017, peers amended leg­is­la­tion drafted to give the Prime Min­is­ter the power to trig­ger the Ar­ti­cle 50 EU de­par­ture process, forc­ing the Gov­ern­ment to give MPs a “mean­ing­ful vote” on the fi­nal Brexit deal.

They voted by 366 to 268 to pass the amend­ment – a ma­jor­ity of 98.

In June last year, the Lords voted in favour of a new amend­ment, de­vised by Tory MP Do­minic Grieve and tabled by Tory peer Vis­count Hail­sham to force a “mean­ing­ful vote” on Brexit even if the Gov­ern­ment failed to reach a deal with the EU.

En­sure

Last March, the Lords passed an amend­ment to a trade bill call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to ne­go­ti­ate a cus­toms union with the EU, and in July, the up­per house passed an amend­ment that would en­sure Par­lia­ment sat in the weeks lead­ing up to the EU’s Oc­to­ber 31 de­par­ture dead­line to try and block a nodeal Brexit.

Lead­ing Euroscep­tics have re­peat­edly called for min­is­ters to ad­dress the anti-Brexit bias in the cham­ber.

AS Brexit gath­ers pace to­wards the Oc­to­ber 31 dead­line, Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son is putting new wind in its sails. He is plan­ning to cre­ate “Brexit he­roes” in the House of Lords – of­fer­ing peer­ages to Leave ad­vo­cates so as to re­bal­ance the Up­per House’s pro-Re­main ma­jor­ity – and to de­liver a mes­sage to those who have long sought to stall the process of leav­ing the EU.

It is a bold move that we broadly sup­port. For it has of­ten seemed as if those in the Leave camp have been painted as a mar­ginal fringe, rather than rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the clear ma­jor­ity of vot­ers in the 2016 ref­er­en­dum. At worst, busi­ness lead­ers and pun­dits who have ad­vo­cated pro-Leave po­si­tions have been ridiculed.

Quite apart from ac­knowl­edg­ing those who have helped bring about this epochal and pop­u­lar de­ci­sion, there is also a need to rein­tro­duce trust into Bri­tish pol­i­tics.

This can­not be done while the elec­toral man­date to leave the EU has been ignored, dis­par­aged or frus­trated by one of the high­est bod­ies in the land.

Pos­i­tive... Mr John­son gives a thumbs up to the press on the fi­nal day of the G7 sum­mit in France yes­ter­day

JD Wether­spoons boss Tim Martin

Ukip switch...Dou­glas Car­swell

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