Just 7% of public support Boris Johnson resignation peerages as campaigners call for end to ‘squalid, undemocratic practice’

New findings show clear majority of public oppose former prime minister increasing the size of the already bloated second chamber.  

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society for immediate release, Wednesday 29 March.
  • Contact Jon Narcross mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk / 07794728820 for interviews or more information.
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New polling has found support for Boris Johnson’s long-anticipated resignation peerages has plummeted to just 7%, as public opposition to new appointments grows. 

Polling of 2,050 people by Opinium for the Electoral Reform Society shows that support for Mr Johnson handing out new resignation peerages has slumped from 13% when the same question was polled just after his resignation in July [1].

A similar 2019 poll showed that showed 16% of people supported Theresa May creating more peers with her resignation list [2].

The falling support for new peerages comes as the polling also shows a rise in public opposition to the ex-prime minister adding new appointments to the already bloated second chamber.

The new Opinium poll showed 61% oppose Mr Johnson creating new resignation peerages, up from 54% in July and 50% for Mrs May’s list in 2019.

Mr Johnson’s planned resignation appointments will likely take his total number of Lords appointments to almost double those by his predecessor Theresa May [3].

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:   

“It’s clear the public are sick and tired of the grubby spectacle of ex-prime ministers stuffing the House of Lords with their friends, donors and political allies even after they’ve left Downing Street.

“As support for this increasingly unjustifiable privilege hits a new low the message is clear: lifetime appointments to make our laws should not be handed out as rewards for loyalty by those in power.

“It is time to end this squalid, undemocratic practice and replace the bloated Lords with a smaller elected second chamber where the people of this country, not ex-prime ministers, decide who shapes the laws we all live under.”

The new appointments will continue to inflate the already bloated second chamber which, with Johnson’s resignation honours, is likely to approach 850 members in size. [4].

This further undermines the recommendation agreed in 2017 to reduce the number of peers to 600 [5]. The Lords remains the second largest legislative chamber in the world after only China’s National People’s Congress. Its current size also puts Britain in the embarrassing position of currently having a majority unelected parliament.

Mr Johnson’s resignation honours have recently been subject to renewed controversy with reports last week that the former Prime Minister was set to award his father a knighthood [6].