Rishi Sunak faces three nightmare by-elections after Boris Johnson's honours list trap

18 May 2023, 14:01 | Updated: 18 May 2023, 15:36

Rishi Sunak faces three imminent resignations and by-elections after an honours list booby trap set by bitter predecessor Boris Johnson.
Rishi Sunak faces three imminent resignations and by-elections after an honours list booby trap set by bitter predecessor Boris Johnson. Picture: Getty

By Chay Quinn

Rishi Sunak faces three by-elections in tough constituencies - after Boris Johnson used his resignation honours to poach MPs from the embattled Prime Minister.

Mr Sunak is set to lose three senior Tories who will be ennobled and elevated to the House of Lords: Nadine Dorries, Alok Sharma and Nigel Adams.

The Lords watchdog has said that the trio will have to step down from their seats to accept the peerages: meaning that all three will trigger by-elections just a fortnight after a bruising set of local elections in which the Conservatives lost over 1,000 councillors.

Former culture secretary Ms Dorries, Cop26 president Mr Sharma and staunch ally Mr Adams are all prepared to leave before the end of their elected terms.

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Boris Johnson's resignation honours list is set to provide another headache to Mr Sunak, who is trying to distance himself from his predecessors chaotic term in office.
Boris Johnson's resignation honours list is set to provide another headache to Mr Sunak, who is trying to distance himself from his predecessors chaotic term in office. Picture: Getty

Labour have an 18-point lead over the Tories in the latest Westminster Voting Intention poll, published by YouGov, fuelling fears that Mr Sunak will be unable to turn around his party's fortunes.

The list is being seen as a trap for Mr Sunak set by acrimonious former Prime Minister Boris Johnson - after Rishi's resignation brought about the end of his premiership in disgrace.

Read More: Liz Truss 'nominates four close supporters for peerages' as part of resignation honours from 49-day stint as PM

Read More: Eight pallbearers who carried late Queen Elizabeth's coffin at her funeral recognised in special honours list

Mr Johnson, who is rumoured to be eyeing up a return to front-line politics when it is expedient for him to do so, has rewarded staunch allies with peerages.

He also plans to ennoble Alister Jack, another staunch ally in his chaotic three-year stint in 10 Downing Street.

The row over peerages is likely to drag on, as ill-fated former Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to have the traditional privilege to nominate peers - despite a 50-day leadership which led to the British economy being thrown into turmoil.

Cop26 President Alok Sharma is due to be elevated to the Lords.
Cop26 President Alok Sharma is due to be elevated to the Lords. Picture: Getty
Boris is set to reward hard-line loyalist Nadine Dorries with a peerage.
Boris is set to reward hard-line loyalist Nadine Dorries with a peerage. Picture: Getty

Ms Truss is believed to have submitted a full list of peerages, despite her short time in charge.

They reportedly include:

  • Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Matthew Elliot- founder of Vote Leave
  • Ruth Porter - Truss's ex-deputy chief of staff
  • Jon Moynihan - Conservative donor

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