British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak lashed out at his predecessor Boris Johnson Monday in a row over political honours for allies of the former premier.
Outgoing British prime ministers routinely recommend aides and close political associates for honours or elevation to the unelected House of Lords.
Johnson was forced out of office last year by a series of scandals including Covid lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street dubbed “Partygate”.
His long-awaited honours list was published Friday — but without several expected names.
As the row over the list unfolded two Johnson allies who were not rewarded — Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams — both resigned from parliament on Friday and Saturday, triggering by-elections.
Johnson himself also resigned as an MP on Friday claiming he had been forced out in a stitch-up by political opponents on the cross-party inquiry investigating whether he lied to parliament over “Partygate”.
Speaking at a tech conference in London on Monday, Sunak defended his handling of Johnson’s honours list and accused the former leader of asking him to overrule the committee that rejected eight of his nominations to the upper chamber.
“Boris Johnson asked me to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do, because I didn’t think it was right. That was to either overrule the Holac committee, or to make promises to people,” he said.
“I wasn’t prepared to do that. As I said I didn’t think it was right, and if people don’t like that then tough,” he said.
The House of Lords Appointments Commission (Holac), which vets nominations, had confirmed it turned down eight nominations put forward by Johnson but would not comment on who they were.
Sunak’s spokesman later told reporters it was “entirely untrue” that the prime minister or officials in Downing Street removed names from Johnson’s list.