(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson secured prestigious titles for several key allies, including MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel and aides who worked in Downing Street during the “partygate” scandal, as the UK government published the former prime minister’s so-called resignation honors list.
Rees-Mogg and Patel — both pro-Brexit former Cabinet ministers under Johnson — received a knighthood and a damehood, respectively. Other MPs handed knighthoods included former ministers Simon Clarke and Conor Burns.
Still, the list was noteworthy as much for what was left out, after months of media reports detailing how Johnson was considering a controversial peerage for his father, Stanley Johnson. Newspapers said MPs Nadine Dorries and Alok Sharma would also sit in the House of Lords, triggering elections in their districts at a time Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives trail in polls.
Ultimately they were not on the list — though Dorries announced before it was published she is standing down anyway, giving no reason. The Liberal Democrats said immediately they will target her Mid Bedfordshire seat.
It was not immediately clear whether their names had been removed by the government, or if they had ever been included. The Reading West seat of Sharma, president of the United Nations COP 26 climate summit, would be at clear risk of going to Labour in a vote.
Any sense that Sunak or the government had intervened would be controversial and would inevitably exacerbate the ill-feeling between Sunak and Johnson. Both were fined by police for rule-breaking during the pandemic, but Johnson blames Sunak for his ultimate downfall as the scandals piled up.
Read More: Boris Johnson Could Be Ousted as an MP If Suspended for Lying
Johnson’s list still triggered criticism. Peerages were awarded to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, a close ally, and his former chief of staff during the ‘partygate’ era, Dan Rosenfield. Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s former principal private secretary who infamously sent staff an email inviting staff to bring their own bottle to a drinks event during the pandemic, also got an award.
“It’s shameful that Rishi Sunak has failed to stand up to his former boss’s outrageous demands and agreed to hand out prizes to this carousel of cronies,” Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said in a statement. “He promised integrity, but this weak prime minister is once again showing his appalling judgment by doing Boris Johnson’s bidding.”
Dorries’s Mid Bedfordshire seat would typically be regarded as safe for the Tories, with a majority of nearly 25,000. Sunak won’t be complacent, though, because his Conservatives have trailed the main opposition Labour Party by a double-digit margin in national polling for months, and are also under pressure in their rural heartlands from the Liberal Democrats, England’s third party.
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