The Independent

Johnson’s nepotism is small beer in our corrupt system


Arise Sir Stanley; your son bids it, and the King will duly oblige. It seems absurd, but less so than the existence of the system which allows it. Membership to our second chamber – already an inappropri­ate anachronis­m in the 21st century – can be bought, and this impacts legislatio­n.

David Lloyd George employed a broker and offered a sensible and well-structured menu from which wealthy “donors” could select whichever title they wished. It would appear that Boris Johnson is not that well organised, although he does indulge in a bit of old-fashioned nepotism. If the Tory party is open for business, in the interests of transparen­cy, it should publish the price list and the availabili­ty of stock.

The Conservati­ves are flogging public honours to fund their political enterprise – a clear example of getting something for nothing by opportunis­m and a familiar Tory practice. The relatively minor indiscreti­on of Stanley Johnson’s knighthood, should it happen, is an award which, like some others of similar ilk, is unlikely to be widely respected.

David Nelmes Newport

If ever there was a political equivalent of “keep it in the family” then this is it. What an absolute joke that Stanley Johnson is set to be nominated for a knighthood by his son, Boris. What has Stanley ever done to deserve it? Given us the biggest liar to

enter British politics? Given a few speeches to Tory dinner clubs? Surely, if Boris Johnson is found guilty of lying to parliament somebody will step in and block his nomination­s.

Geoffrey Brooking Hampshire

Boris Johnson’s proposed nepotistic knighthood for his father may be his last great stand. The outcome of the report into his alleged lies in the House of Commons is looming, and may stop any of his putative honours in their tracks. It would be totally inappropri­ate to allow him the privilege of bestowing honours on any cronies if the inquiry into Partygate is damning of his conduct.

Tim Sidaway Hertfordsh­ire

Peer pressure

One apparently easy solution to the problem of ill-judged peerages is that of creating an elected upper house. While I see the attraction­s of a more democratic system, there are problems. As in the US, if each house is dominated by opposing parties, we may end up with deadlocks that make a joke of government – where the same party predominat­es, then uncritical legislatio­n could conceivabl­y be worse.

The current House of Lords has been very good at making the government rethink unreasonab­le legislatio­n. Wouldn’t the (admittedly less simple) solution be to extend life peerages, with rules about the constituen­cies? For example, the House could consist of members of profession­al bodies, academic experts, and maybe a few ex-MPs, but preferably not those chosen by the prime minister alone.

As for Stanley Johnson, he has had the distinctio­n of having headed the antipollut­ion body of the European Commission. Maybe Boris is being evenhanded!

Cole Davis Norwich

What’s fair for one party...

At last, I thought. The Tories have decided that there are parliament­ary rules and that yes, they should be followed. I found myself looking forward to the re-resignatio­n of Suella Braverman and an investigat­ion into her breaches of the ministeria­l code. A full inquiry into lockdown parties, including those of the Abba variety. An inquiry into Akshata Murty’s use of non-dom status and the alleged setting of taxation rules by her husband, Rishi Sunak, to suit their wealthy family.

But alas, the rules seem only to apply when it comes to trying to sling mud at the opposition’s recruitmen­t of Sue Gray. Tory MP Jeremy Quin had obviously had his thesaurus out, so many words for rule-breaking were used! And no less than four “pertinent” rules that had allegedly been breached.

A senior civil servant accepts a post that she is well qualified for, and the Tories leap on this as a reason to dismiss all the evidence and findings of rule-breaking by their own leader. So let’s have an inquiry into when Gray accepted the offer or even discussed the post with Keir Starmer. But let’s also have several other inquiries into the multitude of rule-breaking by many Tory MPs. What’s fair for one party, must be fair for the other.

Karen Brittain York

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