Boris Johnson faces legal action for appointing Tory peer before £500,000 donation

12 June 2021, 17:16

The PM is facing legal action after he gave Lord Cruddas his peerage
The PM is facing legal action after he gave Lord Cruddas his peerage. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson is facing legal action after he gave a peerage to a wealthy Conservative supporter, against the House of Lords' watchdog's advice.

City financier Peter Cruddas gave £500,000 to the Tories three days after he took his seat in the Lords last February, according to the Electoral Commission's records.

Mr Cruddas, who has given more than £3 million to the party, has insisted there is no link between his donation and the peerage.

Now, the Good Law Project, which has brought a number of judicial review cases against the Government over contracts it handed out during the coronavirus pandemic, said it plans on challenging the appointment in court.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission, which vets news peerages, raised "historic concerns" about allegations that Lord Cruddas offered access to David Cameron when he was prime minister in exchange for party donations.

Lord Cruddas was a Tory party treasurer.

The Good Law Project's director Jo Maugham said: "The independent watchdog didn't think Peter Cruddas should be given a peerage. But Boris Johnson ignored their advice and appointed him anyway.

"Just three days after he entered the Lords, he gave the Conservatives half a million quid. I don't think this is lawful.

"I think a fair-minded observer, presented with the facts, would conclude there was a real possibility or danger of bias in the Prime Minister's decision-making."

The campaign group has set out its case in a pre-action protocol letter sent to the Prime Minister.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "All individuals are nominated in recognition of their contribution to society and their public and political service.

"Lord Cruddas has a broad range of experiences and insights across the charitable, business and political sectors which allow him to make a hugely valuable contribution to the work of the Lords."