Questions continue to be raised over Johnson's role in pushing for a peerage for Evgeny Lebedev.
At least two Conservative MPs have asked home secretary Priti Patel to change the law so that Russia’s ‘enablers’ and ‘bad actors’ can be stripped of their peerages in the House of Lords.
The suggestion was made during Priti Patel’s appearance in the Commons yesterday, as she also faced pressure over the low numbers of Ukrainian refugees accepted by the UK.
Tory MP Bob Seely said: “I am delighted that my right hon. Friend is bringing up not only the oligarchs, but the enablers and facilitators. What do the Government think about various potential bad actors in the House of Lords and what should we be doing about them?”
Seely’s question came as Boris Johnson faces pressure over his decision to personally intervene and push for Russian-born media mogul Lord Evgeny Lebedev, who is the son of a former KGB officer, to be given a peerage. Labour leader Keir Starmer has said that the prime minister’s decision to award Lebedev a peerage should be investigated by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
Starmer said that he was “very concerned” about the reports suggesting the “government and the Prime Minister were warned that there was a national security risk in this particular appointment”.
Conservative MP Aaron Bell also raised the possibility of removing peerages from those lords who had ‘adhered to Putin’s regime’ as he put it on Twitter.
Bell said in the Commons: “Further to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely), would the Government be willing to adapt the language of the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, which was used to withdraw peerages from peers who gave succour to Germany in the first world war, after proper investigation by the Privy Council?”
Clearly Johnson’s own MPs aren’t too happy about the manner in which Johnson pushed for peerages to be given to those alleged to be close to Putin.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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