In his honours list published June 9, Boris Johnson has nominated seven new members of the House of Lords, a tradition granted to outgoing Prime Ministers (yes, even those who left in disgrace).
In addition, Mr Johnson named six new knighthoods, including Jacob Rees-Mogg.
(He had wanted to give his dad a knighthood, but reportedly dropped the idea when it was pointed out that this would look “terrible”.)
He has also given out five damehoods, including one to former Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Oh, and there are a host of Commanders, Officers, Orders and Members of the British Empire, etc. (British Empire, is that still going?)
By last year, Mr Johnson had already appointed 86 new peers to the House of Lords over a three year period, equivalent to 10 per cent of its total size.
They included his brother, Jo Johnson, Brexit negotiator, David Frost (enabling him to be in the Cabinet) and his mate, Evgeny Lebedev, (now Baron of Hampton and Siberia).
While the House of Commons has a defined number of members , the number of members in the House of Lords is not fixed.
Currently, it has around 800 sitting members – but that’s just a guess. It’s changing year by year.
The House of Lords is the only upper house of any bicameral parliament in the world to be larger than its lower house.
[Source: Alan Siaroff, Comparing Political Regimes, University of Toronto Press 2013]
Not only are there more unelected members of the UK Parliament than elected, but just look at the country’s antiquated, arcane, and entirely undemocratic system of democracy:
- We have a legislative system whereby most laws are made by Statutory Instruments, drafted by the Civil Service, which cannot be amended by Parliament and most of which become law automatically, without a Parliamentary vote.
- We have governments that can bypass Parliament with the use – and abuse – of arcane and ancient Royal Prerogatives and Henry VIII clauses.
- We have an old-fashioned voting system of first-past-the-post resulting in governments that most people didn’t vote for. (In European Parliament elections, voting is by proportional representation).
- We had a Prime Minister – yup, Boris Johnson – who could, until it was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, close down Parliament for an extended period at his will and without Parliamentary approval.
- We had a Prime Minister – Theresa May – who attempted to initiate Brexit without Parliamentary authority, until it was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.
- We have a government that has given lucrative contracts to their friends, bypassing usual procurement procedures and public accountability.
- We had a referendum in which two out of the four members of the United Kingdom voted against Brexit, but we still went ahead with it anyway.
- We have an unelected head of state (although he has no real power to intervene on important issues).
And Brexiters claim that the EU is undemocratic! Come off it. None of the undemocratic situations and circumstances listed above could ever occur in the EU.