It is tradition for outgoing Prime Ministers to nominate individuals who supported them during their premiership for peerages and honours following their resignation. The publication of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list has sparked debate over the precedent, with most Express.co.uk readers calling for the system to be abolished.
Mr Johnson’s list was published earlier this month and awarded 38 honours and seven peerages for his political aides and close allies, including former cabinet ministers Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The long-awaited list was approved nine months after he left 10 Downing Street and has proved controversial due to the Partygate report which resulted in his resignation as an MP.
The Liberal Democrats have called for the Forfeiture Committee to withdraw the honours, claiming that Mr Johnson’s choices “brings the system into disrepute”.
The Party’s spokesperson for the cabinet office, Christine Jardine wrote to the committee: “Clearly, the circumstances around this list – and the events which have occurred since its release – are unprecedented and have brought the honours system into disrepute. I believe that there are grounds for examining whether Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list can be revoked in its entirety.”
In response, Express.co.uk ran a poll from 9.30am on Wednesday, June 21, to 1pm on Friday, June 23, asking readers: “Should Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list be ‘withdrawn’?”
A total of 3,946 votes were cast, with the vast majority of readers, 79 percent (3,103 people) answering “yes”. Whereas 21 percent (826 people) said “no” they should not be withdrawn and just 17 people said they did not know.
Mr Johnson’s list is shorter than some of his predecessors, with David Cameron handing out 58 nominations including 13 peerages. John Major awarded 50 honours including 10 peerages while Margaret Thatcher issued 42 with seven peerages.
But Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that he would not have a resignation honours list if he becomes Prime Minister and added that he would be prepared to block Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s list.
He told BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme on Monday: “There are other opportunities. Tony Blair didn’t have a resignation list, it’s very hard to justify.
“If it was reserved for people who have given incredible service, perhaps picking out people who’ve been involved in development of the vaccine or some other real element of public service, but it’s very hard to see how it’s justified.”
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on Mr Johnson’s list. Username WatchOutTheresASnowflakeAbout wrote: “If Boris’s list goes, then so should Cameron’s, Major’s etc.”
Likewise, username Grumpy 79 said: “If his list is to go, can we then go back and do the same with all ex-prime minister’s choices.”
Another, username Isus said: “This business of prime ministers personally deciding who gets honours after resigning should be stopped. Giving gongs to friends, family, supporters and donors, who provided no discernible service to the nation, because a prime minister wants to please a select group of people he likes, loves or owes something to can’t be right and will always be criticised.”
Username grassland added: “They are an absolute disgrace, no prime minister should have an honours list.”