RUTH Davidson, Boris Johnson’s brother, and a newspaper owner have all been given cushy jobs for life in the House of Lords.
The Prime Minister also rewarded the former England cricketer Sir Ian Botham and billionaire Tory donor Michael Spencer.
Ex-chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke have also been bumped up to the Upper Chamber, while Theresa May’s husband, Philip, will receive a knighthood for “political services”.
The SNP’s Pete Wishart described it as the “worst kind of cronyism” while the Speaker of the House of Lords said it was a “vast pity” that so many new peers were being created.
Johnson’s decision to boost the chamber’s numbers by 36 means that it will soon have almost 200 more members than the House of Commons – despite previous Tory promises to reduce the number of unelected legislators.
It’s not just the Tories and their big money pals who are being measured up for ermine gowns. There was also space being made on the red benches for some a number of former Labour politicians, including ex-Ayr MP Katy Clark. She had spent much of the last few years working closely with Jeremy Corbyn.
Frank Field, Kate Hoey, Ian Austin, Gisela Stuart and John Woodcock have also all been nominated for a place in the upper chamber.
Davidson promised she would stay on as the MSP for Edinburgh Central until her term ends next year.
The soon to be Baroness said: “I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of former Holyrood parliamentarians such as Jack McConnell, Jim Wallace and Annabel Goldie in being nominated for membership of the House of Lords.
“However, my main focus continues to be my Edinburgh Central constituency and I have confirmed that I will only take my seat after I cease to be an MSP in March.”
Wishart said it was telling “that in the middle of a global health pandemic and economic crisis that is costing thousands of people their jobs, Boris Johnson is handing out jobs for life in the unelected House of Lords to friends and those who have done him favours.”
He added:”The Prime Minister’s idea of levelling up involves gifting his cronies, damaging policy facilitators, and family members with jobs as legislators for life – with no democratic mandate or accountability to people across the UK.
“It’s the worst kind of cronyism that only highlights the rotten Westminster system that is detached from reality.
“It’s clear beyond doubt that Westminster is simply not working for Scotland and that it is acting against our interests. The House of Lords needs to be abolished – not filled further to the brim at the taxpayers’ expense.“
Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, said the list of new Peers marked “a lost opportunity to reduce numbers in the House of Lords.”
He added: “The result will be that the House will soon be nearly 830 strong – almost 200 greater than the House of Commons. That is a massive policy u-turn. It was only two years ago that the then Prime Mhinister, Mrs May, pledged herself to a policy of ‘restraint’ in the number of new appointments.”
The peerage for Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian-British owner of The Independent, The Evening Standard and London Live, is controversial coming just a week after report warned of how Moscow cash buys political access in the UK.