Prime Minister accused of being “too weak” to block tributes to Johnson’s “friends”.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer brought the claim to Mr Sunak at Prime Minister’s Question Time, following a row between the Conservative leader and Mr Johnson over the disputed list.

The long-awaited names of Mr Johnson’s nominees for honors and knighthoods were released last Friday – hours before the former Prime Minister announced his resignation as MP. It drew heavy criticism as Mr Johnson was accused of nepotism.

Sir Keir asked the Prime Minister why the Conservative Party “spent the last week arguing about which of them should get a title of peerage” while people “across the country are worried about their bills, the price of their weekly groceries and the… skyrocketing mortgage rates”.

CONTINUE READING: Sir Tom Devine: Boris Johnson’s roll of honor tarnishes my knighthood

“But the truth is that despite all his tough words after the event, the Prime Minister crossed off the roll of honor. “It means those who threw a Downing Street party the night before the late Queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral are now receiving awards from the King,” the Labor leader said. “If he’s so hard, why didn’t he block it?”

Mr Sunak insisted he was following the process involved in allowing previous prime ministers to deliver tributes “verbatim” and “respecting the convention of non-interference in political honours”.

The Prime Minister replied: “As I said, I and the Government have followed due process and convention. The prime ministers of both parties have always adhered to the convention of non-interference in political honours.

“My predecessors may not have agreed with Labor’s choice of Tom Watson or Shami Chakrabarti, but the same precedent applied then as it does now. And I would expect a knight like him to understand that.”

CONTINUE READING: Stephen Flynn tells Rishi Sunak to ‘grow up’ after Sturgeon cracks joke

Sir Keir replied: “Honors should be for public service, not Tory chums.”

He asked: “Isn’t that the case: he was too weak to block Johnson’s list and that also means those who have spent their time covering up Johnson’s violations of the law will be rewarded for it, for the rest of their lives to become a legislator?”

Mr. Sunak replied, “It is right that we use the honor system to recognize people. Almost 2,000 people a year, from members of the England Lionesses team to Greater Manchester’s first Asian police officer.

The opposition leader later elaborated on what Mr Sunak would do in relation to former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ roll of honor.

She is also authorized to nominate a list of individuals for peerages and gongs.

Sir Keir Starmer asked whether Mr Sunak would block Ms Truss’ list or “give in to her too”.

The Labor leader told the House of Commons: “There’s only one party that has ruined the economy and that’s where it sits. And there’s a reason they can’t solve the country’s problems, because they never take responsibility for the damage they’ve done.

“And it’s not just Johnson – the Prime Minister’s immediate predecessor is hoping to reward those who have made her rule such a huge success.

“On their roll of honor are the masterminds of this kamikaze household — the economic extremists of the Institute of Economic Affairs, the ones whose disastrous ideas crashed the economy and left the country to pick up the pieces.”

“Will the Prime Minister block this honor roll or will he join it as well?”

Mr Sunak responded by trying to shift the debate to Labour’s economic policy, reporting plans to block new oil and gas projects in the North Sea.

“If you want disastrous economic ideas you only have to look at Labor Party energy policy. “It is an energy policy aimed at banning all new UK oil and gas drilling, putting 200,000 jobs and our energy security at risk at a time of international conflict,” Mr Sunak said.

“Despots like Putin are the only people who will welcome such policies. His predecessor once said he wanted British jobs for British workers – his policy was British jobs for Russian workers.”

Mr Johnson, who resigned as Prime Minister in July 2022, nominated seven people for nomination for life and 38 people for honours, including MBEs, OBEs and knighthoods.

These included a knighthood and a dame for key allies, including former cabinet ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel, and a peerage for backroom workers.

Charlotte Owen, 29, a former associate of Mr Johnson, was knighted at the age of 29 and given the title of Baroness Owen.

Also among those honored for their services to British society were a Parliament hairdresser and an adviser to Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson.

Martin Reynolds, former chief private secretary to Mr Johnson at No. 10, has been nominated for the peerage.

He admitted to emailing Downing Street staff to invite them to a drink in No 10 Garden on May 20, 2020 to “make the most of this fine weather”.

The Bring Your Own Alcohol event came at a time when rules and guidelines restricted gatherings of more than two people and workplaces were designed to encourage social distancing.

Shelley Williams-Walker, who served as operations manager at No 10 during Mr Johnson’s tenure, was added to the former Prime Minister’s list.

She was reportedly responsible for the music during one of two farewell parties on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on April 16, 2021.

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