'Why won't Labour commit to ending it!': Sangita Myska grills Labour MP over House of Lords reform

18 September 2023, 17:18

Sangita Myska challenges Labour MP on his party's plans to reform the House of Lords

By Anna Fox

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Labour's Shadow Paymaster General called for Liz Truss's honours list to be blocked.

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Sangita Myska began by challenging Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth on his party's plans to reform the House of Lords.

She asserted: "Prime ministerial resignation honours lists are merely a convention, is there nothing Labour can do if it was the party of government, to end them?

"You keep saying reform, what actually needs to happen is they need to be ended by your own admission because they're nothing more than a reward for acolytes and cronies."

In reply, Mr Ashworth said: "I think yes, it definitely needs to be reformed."

His reply was swiftly interrupted by Sangita who asserted:" No, no, no, no, Jonathan, I've just asked you why Labor won't commit to ending it!"

Noting Sangita's point, the Labour MP returned to the required question, stating: "We want to reform the system, what you're putting to me is not an unreasonable point and that's obviously something we are going to consider very carefully as part of a broader package of reforms".

Read more: 'No one got hurt': UK’s reaction to Liz Truss’ premiership was 'a bit hysterical', former Bank of England governor says

Sangita Myska on Liz Truss' Institute for Government speech

Labour has maintained it still wants to abolish the House of Lords - despite planning to swell its size with new peers if it wins the next election.

In December last year, Keir Starmer revealed plans led by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to replace the Lords with a democratic assembly of nations and regions.

Labour has been dismissive of the tradition of resignation honours, however, a frontbench Labour MP insisted this was not comparable with the party's plans.

Read more: 'I don't think it's funny': Liz Truss says being compared to a lettuce was 'puerile' after 44-day stint as PM

Sangita also probed the Labour MP on a letter he sent to the Prime Minister calling for him to block Liz Truss's resignations honours list.

She asked: "What are you going to do when he ignores your letter?"

The shadow paymaster general replied, noting that he would continue to "press" Rishi Sunak for action.

Noting Liz Truss's speech at the Institute for Government on Monday, he deemed the move "unbelievable" commenting on her upcoming book "Ten Years to Save the West".

Mr Ashworth said: "Well she only did 44 days, and she trashed our economy".