New bill tabled in House of Commons in bid to limit peerages for party political donors

The Prime Minister said he would consider the proposals only when other parties stopped taking union cash

The Prime Minister was asked about the bill in the House of Commons earlier in the day. Photo: House of Commons/PA WireThe Prime Minister was asked about the bill in the House of Commons earlier in the day. Photo: House of Commons/PA Wire
The Prime Minister was asked about the bill in the House of Commons earlier in the day. Photo: House of Commons/PA Wire

A new bill has been tabled in a bid to stop peers being appointed if they have donated £50,000 or more to a political party within the past five years.

However, Boris Johnson has said he will study proposals to curb peerages for large party donors only when other parties stop taking union funds.

SNP MP Angus MacNeil tabled his private member’s bill on Wednesday and wants it to be considered further on 26 November.

The Peerage Nominations (Disqualification of Party Donors) Bill would prevent someone being appointed to the House of Lords if they have given £50,000 or more to a political party within the previous five years.

It comes amid a day where the sleaze row had been the topic of furious debate in the House of Commons.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Independent MP Jonathan Edwards asked Mr Johnson if he would support the proposed law.

The Prime Minister replied in the Commons: “I will study the proposals with care when the parties opposite commit to stop taking funds from the union in order to control their policy.”

Call to rule out ‘cash for honours’

In a later debate on standards, Mr MacNeil called on the UK Government to rule out “cash for honours” in the future.

He said: “This is a good debate and it is well-intentioned debate, strengthening standards in public life, but Labour studiously avoided dealing with cash for honours and we should remember that the prime minister (Tony Blair) was interviewed under police caution on this matter back in 2006.

“I have tried with Labour and now I will try with the Conservatives, will the Tories rule out the practice of cash for honours?

“A very corrupt practice where high-value cash donors find themselves up in the House of Lords buying their place in a Parliament in what is meant to be a Western democracy for goodness sake.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg replied: “Cash for honours is illegal and has been for the best part of 100 years.

“It is something that is quite rightly illegal and is wholly improper and I think he has been right in his campaigns to ensure that that never tarnishes our way of life.”

Earlier in November, SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart called for the Metropolitan Police to investigate honours given to past Conservative Party treasurers after donations of as much as £3 million to the party.

But the force said there was “not sufficient grounds” to initiate a probe.

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