Theresa May expected to double number of new peers to get Brexit bill through the Lords

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 8 January 2018 in News

Decision would contradict Burns Report recommendations, which suggested limiting number of new appointees in order to reduce the chamber’s size

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May is expected to double the recommended number of new peers in an attempt to boost the Government’s chances of its Brexit bill passing through the upper chamber.

Reports in the Financial Times suggest the Prime Minister is considering appointing up to 12 new Conservative peers, in a move that could undermine a push to slash the size of the Lords chamber.

They say the decision would see several former Tory MPs ennobled, while three new Labour members will also be nominated.

The paper quotes several opposition sources in the Lords saying Tory candidates are in the final stages of being vetted to take their seats – although allies of the Prime Minister have reportedly said an announcement is “not imminent”.

The move comes amid fears the party will be heavily outnumbered when forthcoming votes on the EU withdrawal bill are presented to the upper chamber.

The decision would contradict recommendations made by the Burns Report however – which in October suggested keeping the number of new appointees down in order to reduce the chamber’s size to 600 from the current 794.

The document recommended adding one new peer for every two who have died or retired over a period, meaning that since only 12 having departed the Lords since last October, the total number of new additions should be just six.

The paper quoted one House of Lords figure saying the Government was “loading the dice in their favour” ahead of the planned reduction.

“This approach of packing the Lords with government peers year on year is reminiscent of David Cameron’s approach and in fact what led to the Burns Committee being established,” they said.

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