Liz Truss nominees ‘turn down resignation honours out of embarrassment’

Former PM hands out honour for every three-and-a-half days of her time at No 10

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Monday 07 August 2023 15:37 BST
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Kwasi Kwarteng reveals he was hit by his own budget

At least two people are said to have declined honours from Liz Truss, with one apparently deciding it would be “humiliating” to receive an award from the shortest-ever serving prime minister.

The former Tory leader, who spent only six weeks at No 10, is believed to have a resignation honours list of 14 names being considered by the House of Lords appointments commission.

Ms Truss had nominated at least 16 people for peerages and gongs – but two have turned them down, according to The Times.

One source told the newspaper they felt an honour from Ms Truss would be “humiliating”, while another potential recipient said they did not deserve it.

The list of 14 Truss allies, if accepted by the Lords’ authorities, would amount to an honour for every three-and-a-half of her 49 days at Downing Street.

Those nominated for a peerage by Ms Truss reportedly include Tory donor Sir Jon Moynihan, who gave £20,000 to her leadership campaign.

Mark Littlewood – the outgoing boss of the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – is also said to be in line for a peerage.

The IEA backed Ms Truss’ disastrous mini-Budget of unfunded tax cuts. Mr Littlewood said he was “very sorry” that the PM’s efforts to move the UK “in a pro-growth, low-tax” direction had failed.

Liz Truss leaves Murdoch annual summer party, June 2023
Liz Truss leaves Murdoch annual summer party, June 2023 (PA Wire)

Matthew Elliott, who led the Vote Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum in 2016, and Ms Truss’s former deputy chief of staff Ruth Porter are also said to be on the list for peerages.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Ms Truss’s chancellor, is not thought to be in line for any honours. He revealed at the weekend that he was hit by the aftershocks of his own mini-Budget – saying his tracker mortgage payments had gone up “a great deal” – but denied rising interest rates were his fault.

Senior Labour MP Chris Bryant said the resignation honours lists should be abolished, while Diane Abbott, currently suspended from Labour, said it was “outrageous” that Ms Truss was able to hand out honours.

Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, boasting more than 40 names, was approved in June despite a series of controversies.

Mr Johnson’s list was mired in scandal and saw him accused of “cronyism” – mostly notably in the attempt to push through a peerage for staunch ally Nadine Dorries.

The former culture secretary promised to quit her seat in fury over her failure to gain a peerage, alleging that “posh boy” Rishi Sunak had blocked the honour, a claim denied by No 10.

Mr Johnson also raised eyebrows by handing a peerage to 29-year-old former adviser Charlotte Owen. It was claimed that her role at No 10 had been exaggerated as she was described as “extraordinarily junior”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out ever producing a resignation honours list. He has also vowed to scrap the current Lords and replace it with an elected chamber of “nations and regions”.

But Sir Keir is said to be drawing up plans to appoint dozens of Labour peers to stop his legislative agenda from being frustrated.

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