Former Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham awarded peerage
PUBLISHED: 09:06 01 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:06 01 August 2020
Former Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has been awarded a life peerage by prime minister Boris Johnson.
Sir Henry was first elected as North West Norfolk MP in 1983 and ran as a candidate for speaker of the House of Commons in an effort to succeed John Bercow in 2019.
But after pulling out of the race last year, Sir Henry said others were “better placed” than him to secure cross-party support - amid what he described as “two major crises” which Parliament must grapple with.
In November, 2019, he also announced that he would not be standing in the December general election, saying part of the reason was because parliament was “one of the most discredited and disliked in its history”.
In a letter to North West Norfolk Conservative Association, announcing he would not be running again, he wrote: “This really has been an agonising decision for me and the family, but I am quite convinced it is the right one.”
Also nominated for a life peerage are Mr Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson, several Tory grandees and his chief strategic adviser for peerages, while numerous Brexit-backers are also set for the Lords.
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Ex-England cricket player Sir Ian Botham, who supported the Leave campaign, newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev and former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson were also among 36 new peerages on Friday.
Philip May, the husband of Theresa May, Boris Johnson’s predecessor in Downing Street, will receive a knighthood “for political service”.
The peerage list includes former MPs who rebelled against the Labour position to back Brexit, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart.
But Mr Johnson did pick Conservative former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond for peerages, after he stripped the Tory whip from them after they defied him over Brexit.
He also selected his own brother Jo, who dealt his older sibling a major blow in resigning from his Cabinet citing “the national interest”.
And Mr Johnson nominated his chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister, a long-term ally of the Prime Minister who supported him as London mayor.
Mr Johnson was quickly accused of cronyism by elevating his allies and the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, accused the Prime Minister of “a massive policy U-turn” by further swelling the upper chamber’s size.
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