Rishi Sunak is said to be ready to nod through Boris Johnson’s controversial honours list in a move set to spark at least two by-elections for the Tories.

The former prime minister’s list has already raised eyebrows after he reportedly nominated a series of close political allies, friends and associates – including several Tory MPs and his own father.

But Mr Sunak is poised to approve the list of some 50 names in the coming weeks in a bid to “clear the decks” of another row involving predecessor, according to The Times.

The move will mean further electoral obstacles for Mr Sunak. Former Tory ministers Nadine Dorries and Alok Sharma are expected to stand down to take up Johnson-nominated peerages.

Mr Sharma, the former Cop26 president, has a small majority of only 4,000 in his Reading West seat, which could prove tricky for the Tories to hold.

Former culture secretary Ms Dorries’s Mid-Bedfordshire constituency is traditionally a safe Tory seat with a 24,664 majority, but even that could be at risk if there was a big swing to Labour.

Two others thought to be on Mr Johnson’s list – Alister Jack and Nigel Adams – are expected to remain as MPs until the end of this parliament before taking up roles in the Lords.

Mr Jack, the Scotland secretary, has made clear he won’t be stepping down until the next election. Mr Adams described the idea of standing down early as “utter b******s”.

“We strictly do not comment on honours,” Mr Johnson’s spokesman said.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been at odds on a series of issues


The Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader Daisy Cooper accused Mr Sunak of rewarding “failure” by allegedly giving the list the green light – urging him to make sure it is “put through shredder”.

Mr Johnson could face a by-election over claims that he misled parliament over the Partygate scandal. The MPs’ committee investigating the claims is due to report back at the end of June and could suspend the former PM if he is found guilty.

It comes amid reports that he and wife Carrie hosted a close friend at Chequers – the prime minister’s grace and favour country retreat in Buckinghamshire – while some Covid restrictions were still in place.

A sanction of 10 days or more could trigger a recall petition in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency. For any recall petition to be successful it requires 10 per cent of registered voters in a seat to sign the petition.

However recent polling conducted by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft found that Mr Johnson, who has a majority of 7,210,  would win the contest comfortably, securing 50 per cent of the vote.

The couple have dismissed any suggestions they broke Covid rules as “totally false”


The row over Mr Johnson’s list has dragged on for the best part of 12 months and intensified over reports his father Stanley had been nominated for a knighthood.

Prime ministers can nominate people for awards and can make appointments to the Lords, parliament’s second chamber. Appointments to the Lords are made by the government and approved by the monarch.

The process is overseen by a House of Lords Commission but its role is only advisory, meaning the PM has the final say on putting someone forward for ennoblement.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s former communications chief Guto Harri said the then-PM asked Jacob Rees-Mogg to be a “pain in the backside” for Mr Sunak amid a row over Brexit,

The ex-spin doctor said Mr Johnson gave Mr Rees-Mogg “carte blanche” to “tread on some toes” at the Treasury. Mr Rees-Mogg had warned that the then-chancellor had “gone native” on Brexit policy.

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