British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday criticized his predecessor Boris Johnson, as part of a row over the promotion of close associates of the former prime minister.
Outgoing British prime ministers routinely recommend aides and political allies to be honored or promoted and appointed to the House of Lords.
Johnson was forced to step down last year after a series of scandals related to the closure measures that were imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19, including parties held at the headquarters of the government called “Partygate”.
On Friday, a list of names that Johnson proposes to grant privileges to their owners was published, but it was devoid of some of the characters he expected to include.
With the emergence of the dispute over the list, two of Johnson’s allies who were not included in the list, namely MPs Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams, resigned on Friday and Saturday, which requires the organization of by-elections.
Johnson personally resigned from Parliament on Friday, claiming that he was forced to step down as part of an investigation involving various parties, describing him as biased and led by his opponents to show whether he had misled Parliament in the “Party Gate” case.
In a speech delivered Monday at a technology conference in London, Sunak defended his handling of Johnson’s list, accusing his predecessor of having asked him to overrule a committee that refused to appoint eight of his nominees to the upper chamber.
“Boris Johnson has asked me to do something I’m not ready to do, because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. It’s either to break the decision of the Holak Committee or to make promises to people,” Sunak said, referring to the House of Lords Appointment Committee.
“I’m not ready to do that. As I said, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, and there’s nothing wrong with some people not liking it.”
The House of Lords Appointment Committee, “Hollack”, which is concerned with considering nominations, had confirmed that it had rejected eight candidates whose names Johnson proposed, without revealing their identities.
Later, Sunak’s spokesman said it was “absolutely untrue” that the prime minister or Downing Street officials had removed names from Johnson’s list.