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Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Liz Truss Dishing Out Gongs and Peerages in Resignation Honours

Exclusive polling for Byline Times suggests that the public rejects the short-lived Prime Minister being able to create new peers in the Lords

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ influence will live on through who she puts in the 800-member House of Lords. Photo: Stephen Chung/Alamy

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Voters have expressed their anger at the prospect of former Prime Minister Liz Truss being able to appoint new members to the House of Lords in a looming resignation honours list – despite her lasting less than 50 days in office.

Prime ministers, by convention, are able to submit a resignation honours list once they leave office, appointing people to the Lords and granting knighthoods for public service. But there are widespread fears that Truss will use hers to appoint people to legislate her views in Parliament for life by being handed seats in the second chamber.

More than 200,000 people have already signed a petition calling for any honours list of Truss to be rejected. Her mini-budget with Kwasi Kwarteng is widely credited with helping to tank the economy last summer, triggering market jitters that sent the cost of government borrowing and interest rates soaring. 

Now Omnisis polling for Byline Times reveals that two-thirds (67%) of voters surveyed disapprove of Truss’ ability to give out new knighthoods and peerages as part of her resignation honours list. Just 13% approved (one in five said that they didn’t know or have a view). 

Voters across all parties are against the move, with 64% of Conservative voters expressing their disapproval and only 20% showing their approval. The finding suggests that even among her party’s supporters, Truss’ reputation is in tatters. 

In the Labour Party, disapproval rose to 71%, with only 13% in approval and 16% undecided. Liberal Democrats showed the highest level of disapproval, at 74%, with just 13% in support. 

The results form part of a growing trend of dissatisfaction with the honours system, particularly in the wake of Boris Johnson appointing seven peers to the House of Lords. His list included at least two individuals implicated in the ‘Partygate’ scandal and a 30-year-old junior aide with little experience in politics. Reform backers argue that the system perpetuates a culture of patronage and cronyism. 

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As former Prime Ministers, Truss and Johnson are both able to claim up to £115,000 a year from the taxpayer for the rest of their lives for office costs, as part of the ‘public duty costs allowance’.

Hundreds of thousands of voters have signed a petition calling on Truss’ successor, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Johnson’s decision to bestow other honours, such as an OBE for his parliamentary hairdresser, has only intensified the public’s frustration.

Reports suggest that Truss’ honours list includes numerous individuals close to her, as well as key supporters and donors to the Conservative Party.

‘It’s A Disgrace’

Conservative donor Jon Moynihan and a key advocate of Liz Truss’ economic policies, Mark Littlewood, are among the individuals set to receive lifelong seats in the House of Lords. 

Littlewood, the director of the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank and a former university colleague of Truss, played a significant role in promoting her economic agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy. 

Ruth Porter, who served as Truss’ deputy chief of staff during her brief tenure as Prime Minister, is also expected to secure a seat in the second chamber – which already has nearly 800 members. Porter, previously the head of crisis management firm FGS Global, has been described as a trusted ally of the ex-PM, who was outlasted by the Daily Star’s lettuce.

Matthew Elliott, former chief executive of the Brexit Leave campaign and founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance think tank, is also tipped for a peerage. 

Conservative donor Jon Moynihan is former CEO of consultancy group PA. He played a role as chairman of the Vote Leave campaign and currently serves as chairman of the pro-Brexit think tank, the Initiative for Free Trade, founded by fellow Conservative peer Dan Hannan. Moynihan notably made a £100,000 donation to Boris Johnson.

These individuals could soon receive lifetime appointments to the House of Lords, able to claim £323 a day tax-free to vote on UK laws. An ex-Truss aide told the Daily Express that the peerages list was “mad, if true”, adding that “it’s a disgrace”. They claimed the view that “no one should be getting anything” is widely held among former members of her team.

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After fighting off calls to block Johnson’s tainted list, Sunak will now face additional pressure to prevent Truss’ appointments. More than 220,000 people have backed a petition calling for Truss to be denied an honours list, with campaign organisers planning to present the petition to No. 10 in the coming days.

The petition notes that Truss’ tenure as Prime Minister was beset with incompetence, with the tremors of the mini-budget that shocked the markets last summer still being felt. 

Backers of the petition are also demanding legislation to prevent former prime ministers who resign or are forced to leave before completing a year in office from receiving any perks or privileges associated with the position. 

‘It’s a Scandal’

The petitioners argue that it is “insulting and ridiculous” to allow Truss to appoint her friends to the House of Lords, receive severance pay despite not “even lasting three months”. 

A spokesperson for, the platform hosting the petition, said: “It’s a scandal. While we’re all reeling from new Partygate videos and battling rising mortgage interest rates – that she helped cause – Liz Truss is still set to get all the perks of being Prime Minister despite only holding the role for 49 days. This includes her own honours list, like the one Boris Johnson just had approved.”

Sunak has flatly rejected blocking Boris Johnson’s peerages despite the Privileges Committee’s report finding that he repeatedly lied to the House of Commons over No. 10 parties during COVID restrictions.

Willie Sullivan, senior director of campaigns for the Electoral Reform Society, previously told Byline Times: “This indicates the strength of feeling there is among the public and that what is deemed acceptable in Westminster is not for the wider country. The last few weeks have exposed the grubby horse-trading that goes on over honours lists and who gets peerages. 

“However, the prospect of Liz Truss being allowed to hand out jobs-for-life in the Lords as rewards for failure to those who supported her government shows how low the current system is sinking.”

He added that the case “underscores the need for urgent reform of the current unelected and bloated Lords.” The ERS is campaigning to replace the Lords with a smaller elected chamber.

The Omnisis poll took place online on 23 June 2023, surveying 1,336 GB adults. It weighted results so they were representative of the British public.

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