Politics of nominating peers


Boris Johnson (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images).
Boris Johnson (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images).

 

By Amit Roy

THE decision by Boris Johnson, 56, to give a peerage to his broth­er, Jo, 48, looks like an attempt by the prime minister to resolve a family quarrel.

It will be recalled that Jo re­signed from his brother’s govern­ment in September last year, with a bombshell tweet: “It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minis­ter under three PMs. In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest – it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister.”

But Jo, who was once the Fi­nancial Times correspondent in India and acquitted himself well as universities and science minis­ter – he was highly regarded in Delhi – will be a worthwhile ad­dition to the Lords.

After leaving politics, Jo has kept a low profile but he did turn up on October 2 last year for the commemoration of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary held by the statue of the Mahatma in Par­liament Square in London.

It is a pity, however, that in a break with tradition, John Ber­cow, speaker of the Commons from 2009 to 2019, was denied a peerage. History will judge him to be the speaker who gave real power to backbenchers and made the Commons truly the Mother of Parliaments.