New polling shows 61% oppose Boris Johnson’s resignation peerages

Darren Hughes, Chief Executive

Posted on the 28th March 2023

Our new polling has found that just one in 14 people (7%) support Boris Johnson stuffing more peers into the already bulging House of Lords with his resignation honours list.

Polling of 2,050 people, conducted by Opinium for the Electoral Reform Society, shows that support for Johnson handing out new peerages has slumped from 13% when the same question was polled just after his resignation in July.1Opinium poll of 2,000 respondents from 22nd – 26th July 2022 A similar 2019 poll showed that showed 16% of people supported Theresa May creating more peers with her resignation list.2BMG poll of 1,532 respondents from 2nd – 5th July 2019

This falling support comes as our polling also shows a rise in public opposition to the ex-prime minister adding new appointments to the already bloated second chamber. The new Opinium poll showed 61% now oppose Johnson creating new resignation peerages, up from 54% in July and 50% for May’s list in 2019.

Johnson’s planned resignation appointments will likely also take his total number of Lords appointments to almost double those by his predecessor Theresa May.3To date, Boris Johnson has created 68 new peerages compared to 46 created by Theresa May, according to ERS analysis. These include their resignation honours list which are technically appointed by their successor. 20 new peerages are reportedly being considered as part of Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list

New appointments send the membership of the Lords to ludicrous levels

These new appointments, along with Liz Truss’s expected resignation honours list, will continue to inflate the already bloated second chamber which, with Johnson’s resignation honours, is likely to approach a ludicrous 850 members in size.4Latest figures put the size of the house at 822 with 45 peers illegible due to leave of absence, disqualification or suspension:

This just further undermines the recommendation agreed in 2017 to reduce the number of peers to 600 and the Lords remains the second largest legislative chamber in the world after only China’s National People’s Congress. Its current size also puts Britain in the embarrassing position of currently having a majority unelected parliament.

A clear message from the public

Our latest polling shows it’s clear that the public are sick and tired of the grubby spectacle of ex-prime ministers stuffing the House of Lords with their friends, donors and political allies even after they’ve left Downing Street.

As support for this increasingly unjustifiable privilege hits a new low the message is clear: lifetime appointments to make our laws should not be handed out as rewards for loyalty by those in power.

It is time to end this squalid, undemocratic practice and replace the bloated Lords with a smaller elected second chamber where the people of this country, not ex-prime ministers, decide who shapes the laws we all live under.

Are you in the majority opposed to these appointments?

Add your name to our call to end the idea of resignation honours and create an elected second chamber in place of the House of Lords.

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