Former prime minister accused of ‘discrediting honours system’ with long-delayed resignation list
Stanley and Boris Johnson pictured together in 2004. Photograph: Alan Davidson/Rex/Shutterstock
Boris Johnson has been accused of having “discredited the honours system” after it was reported that his long-delayed resignation list includes a knighthood nomination for his father, Stanley Johnson.
Previous reports have suggested Johnson could also be considering honours for his wife, Carrie Johnson, and his sister, Rachel Johnson. As prime minister he made his brother, Jo Johnson, a peer.
According to the Times, which cited no source for the information, Stanley Johnson is among up to 100 names put forward for honours by the former prime minister, who left office in September. A spokesperson for Boris Johnson told the paper: “We don’t comment on honours.”
Keir Starmer said the idea of Stanley Johnson being knighted was “ridiculous”. The Labour leader told LBC radio: “It’s classic of a man like Johnson. I mean, I think the public will just think this is absolutely outrageous. The idea of an ex-prime minister bestowing honours on his dad – for services to what?”
Asked about the idea, the shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said Boris Johnson had “discredited the honours system, discredited the office of prime minister”. While saying he generally “couldn’t care less” about Stanley Johnson, he added: “Given Boris Johnson’s conduct, you might argue that Stanley Johnson has got a lot to answer for, actually.”
The list is going through Cabinet Office vetting, amid numerous reports about concern among officials and in Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street over both its length and some of those included.
According to other reports, among those in line for peerages are the former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.
Other reports have said peerages could also go to Ross Kempsell, 30, who formerly worked for Rupert Murdoch’s TalkTV station as political editor, and subsequently for Conservative central office and for Johnson, and to Charlotte Owen, one of the ex-prime minister’s former assistants who is understood to be in her late 20s.
As well as putting his brother in the Lords, Johnson also did this for two close friends, the former Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and the newspaper proprietor Evgeny Lebedev.
Nominating Stanley Johnson also would be controversial given allegations about his behaviour. In 2021, the Tory MP Caroline Nokes and a journalist publicly accused the former MEP of touching them at Conservative party conferences.