Brexit supporters from across the political spectrum have been named as future peers, but notably absent is the Remain-backing John Bercow, breaking with tradition that former speakers are offered a seat in the House of Lords.
Claire Fox, who founded the Institute of Ideas, is the first former Brexit Party lawmaker to have been nominated for elevation to the House of Lords after representing North West England from May 2019 until the UK left the EU.
Ms Fox said on Saturday: “Thank you all so much for many wonderfully generous messages of support. It seems positive that the historic significance of Brexit has been recognised via so many of those offered peerages. It feels as much a recognition of voters as individuals.
On peerages: a short thread. Thank you all so much for many wonderfully generous messages of support. It seems positive that the historic significance of Brexit has been recognised via so many of those offered peerages. It feels as much a recognition of voters as individuals 1/
— Claire Fox (@Fox_Claire) August 1, 2020
“I’m thrilled that many people I admire are joining the Lords, especially some feisty women: Gisela Stuart, Kate Hoey, Helena Morrissey. The irony is: having more democrats in the unelected House of Lords at least might make the cause of democratic accountability harder to side-line.”
Saying that she still stands by her position of seeking the abolition of the unelected upper house, the former Brexit Party MEP noted, however, that we are living in “strange times, politically. But I’ll try to use this new role to voice concerns of those often side-lined and to argue for: free speech, no ifs or buts; more public debate; arts and education for their own sake; popular sovereignty… i.e., values I’ve fought for all my adult life.”
Kate Hoey, the former Labour MP for Vauxhall in London, was one of the most vocal pro-Brexit voices on the left and campaigned for Leave with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Ms Hoey will sit as a non-affiliated peer, along with four other pro-Brexit former Labour Party politicians Frank Field, Gisela Stuart, Ian Austin, and John Woodcock, according to The Telegraph.
THANKYOU to all who have sent me lovely messages about my elevation to the House of Lords. It is an honour and one I share with all those from former Labour voting areas who stayed true to the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU
— Kate Hoey (@CatharineHoey) July 31, 2020
Ms Hoey said of her appointment: “THANK YOU to all who have sent me lovely messages about my elevation to the House of Lords. It is an honour and one I share with all those from former Labour voting areas who stayed true to the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU.”
Nigel Dodds, the former leader of the conservative, Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has also been made a Lord. The former MP for North Belfast led the party in Westminster, which was in a confidence and supply agreement with the minority Conservative government between 2017 and 2019.
Margaret Thatcher’s biographer Charles Moore and ex-England cricketer Sir Ian Botham are also amongst the 36 new peers.
Anti-Brexit Former Speaker Slams Populism in Alternative Christmas Message https://t.co/TzIyHKj55a
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 25, 2019
Tory grandee Ken Clarke and Theresa May’s former chancellor Philip Hammond have been nominated, in what appears to be an olive branch from Boris Johnson to mend Brexit/Europhile divisions within the Tory Party.
Notably absent was former Conservative MP and ten-year veteran of the Commons’ speaker’s chair, John Bercow. As former speaker, his denial of a seat in the Lords is reportedly a break in 230 years of British parliamentary tradition.
Prime Minister Johnson would not recommend the former speaker, and as a result, former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn nominated Mr Bercow, but his recommendation did not go through.
Speculation from sources and the media in recent months have pointed to two factors discouraging Mr Johnson from recommending his former colleague for the honour: allegations of bullying by Mr Bercow and claims that the Remainer had intentionally tried to disrupt the government’s Brexit agenda.
After he left his role, Mr Bercow called Britons’ vote to leave the European Union “the biggest foreign policy mistake in the post-war period”. He also admitted to having a “handmaiden role” in helping anti-Brexit parliamentarians stop a clean break exit.
Officials Claim ‘Establishment Stitch-up’ Saved ‘Bully’ Bercow https://t.co/YHcC96y2pc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 29, 2019