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The Dishonours List

The Dishonours List


Boris Johnson is not a man who has much care for institutions or conventions. So what does his forthcoming resignations honours list mean for the future of the House of Lords?

Why this story?

The House of Lords is meant to play a vital role in British democracy. The upper chamber of parliament should be filled with expertise from all walks of life, scrutinising legislation and kept at arm’s length from the vagaries of political life in the Commons. In reality, it has become a joke institution, a place for political donors, allies and friends. 

Every outgoing Prime Minister gets to draw up a list of people they recommend for a seat in the House of Lords. Despite resigning in disgrace, Boris Johnson is no different. Throughout his premiership, Johnson showed little regard for institutions or the conventions governing them. The names that are expected to appear on his resignation honours list appear to continue that pattern. 

What does this say about the United Kingdom as a country, and the House of Lords as an institution? Is it still fit for purpose? Or could this be the beginning of the end for a system that is already battered and bruised?

Illustration by Rebecca Hendin for Tortoise