Good day to bury bad news as PM is set to use wedding as cover to create ’helpful’ new Lords
THERESA May will pack the House of Lords with Tory cronies while Britain is distracted by the royal wedding.
A Cabinet Office source told the Mirror: “It will be a good time to bury bad news.”
THERESA May was last night accused of “cowering in the shade of the royal wedding” to sneak more Tories into the Lords.
The PM is expected to appoint 10 more Conservative peers while the news is dominated by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials.
Most are set to be loyal to Mrs May on Brexit after a series of humiliating EU vote defeats in the Lords.
Alexandra Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy, said: “This move is hypocritical, opportunistic and weak. The Government is treating the public like idiots.
“Fresh from a defeat in the House of Lords on their flagship [Brexit] legislation, Theresa May is cowering in the shade of the royal wedding as she packs the House of Lords with cronies and failed MPs.
“It was barely a fortnight ago that Conservative MPs were calling for the upper chamber to be abolished alto- gether. Well, they’ve certainly changed their tune.”
A source close to the Cabinet Office’s Honours Committee said yesterday: “This has been on and off, on and off for months, but they’re likely to do it this weekend.
“They believe the royal wedding will be a good time to bury bad news.” The announcement could come as soon as today with former minister Sir Eric Pickles and ex-Social Security Secretary Peter Lilley among the Tories to take ermine.
It is likely that about 10 new Conservative peers will be created, along with three Labour and one for the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the Government.
Peers can trouser £300 a day just for turning up. There are about 800, making it the second biggest parliamentary chamber in the world after China’s National People’s Congress.
Increasing the size of the Lords will unleash fresh criticism of the PM. She has called on Labour and the Lib Dems to encourage more of their peers to retire to slash the size of the Lords.
Mrs May said the Tories had a better record of “embracing retirement at the appropriate time”. She also vowed to end the “automatic entitlement” to a peerage for holders of high office.
SNEAKING more Tory cronies into an already bursting House of Lords, while Britain’s eyes are on the royal wedding, would be a new low, even for Theresa May.
So we urge the Prime Minister to find an ounce of stateswomanship to resist using a happy national occasion as political cover.
If she insists on handing out ermine with a £ 305 daily tax- free allowance to another charabanc of Conservative has-beens and never-weres Mrs May will quickly discover it goes down like a lead balloon with the public.
The Lords needs slimming not expanding when the 780 jobs-for-life unelected lawmakers outnumber the 650 elected MPs
And what gall of May as she threatens to reduce by 50 the number of elected lawmakers.
Mostly Labour and Liberal members will fall victim to her axe, despite the electoral system already over-representing the Tories.
This isn’t about Brexit or any other issue. This is about May undermining democracy.
PACKED The House of Lords has 800 peers
MOVING UP Eric Pickles & Peter Lilley