The Brits are good at coming up with catchy names for scandals, and Boris Johnson is a master at fabricating scandals. Hence the “lavender list”. The Lavender List is again a hot topic in London these days because it is a precursor to what is happening at Westminster. scandalous events, Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister.
Every British Prime Minister, on leaving office, is allowed to draw up a list of names of those he wishes to appoint to the House of Lords, a “resignation honor roll”. The upper house is the counterbalance to the lower house, which is evenly distributed along partisan politics and scrutinizes laws the lower house wants to introduce, approves them, or sends them back for reconsideration. Peers are appointed for life unless they are already members by virtue of their hereditary status. They are elected by the Prime Minister and that is the great weakness of the system. At least when someone like Boris Johnson is Prime Minister. Or Howard Wilson, author of The Lavender List.
Wilson, a Labor politician, resigned as Prime Minister in 1976. He is said to have written his resignation honor roll on lavender-colored paper, hence the name – many of Wilson’s friends and comrades, shady businessmen but also old friends who had nothing to do with politics, were written on it. Wilson ignored any objections from the Review Committee and pushed the list of powers vested in the Prime Minister. Lavender List is considered the biggest scandal in recent decades when it comes to “resignation honors.” As of now, Boris Johnson, who is in office until September 5, has also drawn up a list.
Johnson is trying to tip the balance in the House of Lords in his favour. Or: in favor of the Tories, i.e. Tories who support a hard Brexit. During his three-year term, Johnson has nominated 86 peers, twice as many as Theresa May, and elected her brother Joe to the House of Lords. Joe Johnson, now Baron Johnson of Marylebone, is a politician who was an MP until 2019, and of course the appointment of the Prime Minister’s brother in 2020 caused quite a stir. But Boris Johnson is always good at drawing media attention to new topics: there’s always something.
“Direct and open bribery”
Former Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote recently In Guardians, he had seen a document in which Johnson’s committee recommended appointing “39 to 50” new colleagues. In addition, the newcomers were to sign a document saying they would vote in favor of a Tory government while voting on the legislation in exchange for the title of peer and the benefits that come with it. Gordon Brown, like his predecessor Tony Blair, has tried to push for reform of the House of Lords and, like Blair, has renounced the resignation honor roll altogether, writing that it is “direct and outright bribery”. Many former leaders of the House of Lords have expressed regret.
Lord William Wallace, a long-serving member of the House of Commons and a Liberal Democrat, confirmed the process in an interview with SZ. Lord Wallace says there is “huge concern” in the House of Lords if the list does go ahead. Johnson would have a significant impact on legislation in this country for years to come. Last but not least, laws like this in Northern Ireland, which Johnson’s government would attack the EU and violate international law, would then simply be waved away. At the same time, Lord Wallace says, in his 25 years in the House of Lords, there has never been so much legislation to oppose under Johnson: “We are sending back more bills than ever before.”
Johnson’s list includes the likes of editor-in-chief Paul Dacre Daily Mail, which turned the nation’s largest newspaper into Johnson’s merciless mouthpiece. But Nadine Dorries, who promoted Johnson as culture minister, whose loyalty to Johnson is often absurd, or billionaires like Michael Hindsey, who has donated €4.9 million to the Tories since 2002, according to the government’s donation register. Or Lyubov Chernugin, the wife of Russia’s former Putin minister, considered the biggest female party donor in British history: this year alone she has already donated around 72,000 euros, her donations to the Conservatives since 2007 totaling 2.4 million euros. It goes on and on, and last but not least businessman David Ross is said to be on the list of generous invitees to Johnson and his wife for the holiday.
The Peter Krutas case shows how well Johnson’s reward system works. Crutas is another millionaire who has donated large sums to the Tories in recent years. Johnson appointed him to the House of Lords last year, despite significant concerns from the Review Board. He was sworn in on 2 February 2021, and on 8 February Cruddas donated £500,000 to the Conservatives. A few weeks ago, he launched a signature campaign that caused quite a stir among Tory members. He wants Johnson to stand for election while members choose his successor. After all, Peter Grudas believes there is only one man who can save this country: Boris Johnson.
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