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Legal action launched over Boris Johnson award of peerage to Tory donor

Campaign group seeks judicial review after PM ignores advice against honour for Peter Cruddas

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 12 June 2021 15:51 BST

Anti-corruption campaign the Good Law Project has launched a legal action over the award of a peerage to Conservative party donor Peter Cruddas.

Boris Johnson overruled advice last year from the House of Lords Appointments Committee against making the businessman a Lord - the first time the watchdog’s recommendation has been ignored.

A former Tory treasurer, Lord Cruddas resigned in 2012 after reports he had offered access to then prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne in return for donations.

In a letter to government lawyers setting out their case for judicial review, the Good Law Project said that Cruddas, his wife and his company had between them given £3m to the Tories - including £1.2m since Mr Johnson became PM in 2019, as well as donating £50,000 to his campaign for the Conservative leadership.

The letter before claim states that the former party treasurer gave £250,000 to the Tories weeks before it became known last year that Mr Johnson had nominated him for a peerage, and a further £500,000 three days after becoming a peer in February 2021.

The director of the Good Law Project, barrister Jolyon 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.”

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