‘No points for donations!’ Boris’s anti-corruption tsar to overhaul peerage system

House of Lords structure ‘out of date’ says Hughes

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In early November 2021, an investigation from The Sunday Times and Open Democracy revealed that the Conservative Party had been offering seats in the House of Lords to a select group of multimillionaire donors who pay more than £3 million to the party in the last twenty years. They crossed several references and realised that wealthy benefactors appear to be guaranteed a peerage if they take on the temporary role as the party treasurer and increase their own donations beyond £3 million.

Now the Prime Minister’s own anti-corruption champion has shared some insights into his upcoming white paper suggesting a whole new system that would be based on points and achievements rather than close ties with political leaders.

John Penrone, who has been MP for Weston-super-Mare since 2005, was appointed anti-corruption champion by the cabinet office back in 2017.

He will introduce Poverty Trapped, a wide-ranging policy paper, next week.

Mr Penrone has described the current system as “murky and old-fashioned” and would like to replace it with an annual “UK talent list” and a points-based honours system.

The MP would like to see peerages awarded on “talent, ability and hard work” rather than “whom you knew, where you went to school or how much you donated to a political party.”

John Penrone said in a statement: “The new system wouldn’t include points for donations to any political party, so it would be crystal-clear that anyone getting an honour had earned it for something else, and their donations couldn’t have made a difference.”

He added: “The top teachers, for example, might be the ones who had successfully run Britain’s largest or most-improved schools for the longest time.

“The top business people could be those who had either run the largest or fastest-growing companies for many years or the entrepreneurs who had created the most wealth from scratch.

“Once the new and fairer scoring system was in place and the UK Talent List was public, the top few names in each area would become Lords and Ladies.

“The slightly larger next group below them would become Knights and Dames.

“The still-larger group below them would get OBEs, CBEs or MBEs.

“Everyone would be able to see each person’s score, so we’d all know why each person deserved their new title or honour, and that the system was fair.

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“And anyone who thought someone deserved an honour would be able to work out what they’d score if they applied.

“The effect on British ambition and aspiration would be electric.

“Previously-closed doors to a cosily- privileged club would be blown wide open.”

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