Nadine Dorries has called for a rule change over the peerage system amid concern Boris Johnson’s honours list could stir up a wave of by-elections.
The former culture secretary, who stood by the ex-PM during the cabinet mutiny that toppled his premiership last year, has already confirmed she will relinquish her Mid Bedfordshire seat come the next general election.
But an appointment to the House of Lords could mean an early departure from the Commons for Ms Dorries – triggering one of three possible by-elections Rishi Sunak faces if MPs nominated for peerages by Mr Johnson stand down.
The former prime minister’s resignation honours list is expected to feature Scotland secretary Alister Jack, ally Nigel Adams, Cop26 president Alok Sharma and Ms Dorries.
The House of Lords appointments watchdog has advised that the MPs will have to stand down in order to take up peerages.
And Ms Dorries, as well as Mr Adams and Mr Sharma, are prepared to do so, The Times reported, leading to three by-elections which the Tories could lose. But Mr Jack confirmed he would not force a by-election, stressing he will not quit as an MP until the next general election.
Speaking in a clip released ahead of Talk TV’s Friday Night with Nadine programme, Ms Dorries revealed she had asked Boris Johnson about the rumoured appointment.
On the show, which airs at 8pm on Friday, The Times sketch writer Quentin Letts asked: “Lady Dorries, do we call you that?”
Ms Dorries replied that she had not “heard a thing from anybody”, not even a letter.
Mr Letts said: “It’s obviously happening,” to which Ms Dorres replied: “Well yeah, but isn’t it interesting though that I don’t know.”
Guest Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, then asked if Boris Johnson ever raised the matter of Ms Dorries’ possible peerage with her.
Ms Dorries answered: “Honestly, there is this taboo about apparently, you’re not allowed to be told, you’re not allowed to discuss it.
“But what I will say is this – you’re absolutely right. What I’ve read and what I believe is that the nominations were, if i was ever on that list – and don’t believe everything you read in newspapers – but we were to stay in place until a general election which seems absolutely the right thing to do, to me.
“However, apparently, the House of Lords Appointment Committee have said that would be ‘constitutionally improper’. They don’t say that would be constitutionally impossible – they say improper.
She went on: “Now, the difference is, I think HOLAC [House of Lords Appointments Commission] need probably to update their processes, because we are in politically unstable times.
“We have had two prime ministers who’ve been changed mid-term. Normally, a resignation list would happen at a general election.
“So maybe the processes need to be addressed as to what happens if a prime Minister has a resignation list mid-term,” she suggested.
Ms Dorries also went on to say she had asked Mr Johnson about the peerages, but “he’s in South Korea”, she added, indicating she had not had a response.
“I think there are some discussions to be had,” she continued. “I think Rishi needs to decide what he’s going to do.”
Mr Johnson’s honours list is thought to include around 50 people, including his own father, and has sparked controversy among Tory MPs. Senior party figures branded the plan to hand Stanley Johnson a knighthood “absurd” and told The Independent it will “corrode public trust”.
But Mr Sunak is reportedly prepared to wave through the list, which could be announced next month.