Good day to bury bad news as PM is set to use wed­ding as cover to cre­ate ’help­ful’ new Lords

Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY BEN GLAZE Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

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

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