Top Tory defends 'flood' of party donors into House of Lords as Liz Truss allies take oath

A Tory minister has hit back at criticism over a “flood of Tory donors” entering the House of Lords – on the day two Liz Truss allies took their oaths

Jon Moynihan, who donated £50,000 to Ms Truss’ leadership campaign, was made a peer by the former PM in her resignation honours list. Rishi Sunak came under fire for not blocking his predecessor’s appointments following her catastrophic 49 days in No10.

Also introduced to the Lords today was Matthew Elliott, the former chief of the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit. Labour backbench peer Lord George Foulkes voiced his displeasure by asking a Defra minister: “Can the minister tell the House what can be done to stem the flood of Tory donors to the House of Lords?”

The question was met with laughter from across the chamber. Tory minister Lord Robert Douglas-Miller smiled as he responded: “I’m not sure why we would want to do that.”

top tory defends 'flood' of party donors into house of lords as liz truss allies take oath

Former Vote Leave boss Matthew Elliott also took his oath in the Lords

Electoral commission figures show Lord Moynihan donated almost £570,000 to the Tory Party between 2001 and 2023. This sum included two donations – totalling over £53,000 – to Ms Truss’s leadership campaign in 2022.

He also donated £100,000 to Boris Johnson in the summer of 2019. On top of that, Electoral Commission records reveal he gave more than £60,000 to Vote Leave in the build-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Lord Elliott, a former chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, ran the Vote Leave campaign. The Government faced heavy criticism after the release of Ms Truss’s resignation honours list in December.

Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth blasted: “This list is proof positive of Rishi Sunak’s weakness and a slap in the face to working people who are paying the price of the Tories crashing the economy.

“Honours should be for those committed to public service, not rewards for Tory failure. Rather than apologise for crashing the economy and driving up mortgage rates, costing families thousands, Rishi Sunak has nodded through these tarnished gongs because he is too weak to lead a Tory party completely out of touch with working people.”

Deputy Lib Dem Leader Daisy Cooper added: “This shameless move to reward Liz Truss’s car crash cronies is matched only by Sunak’s weakness in failing to block it. Truss hands out gongs after blowing a hole in the public finances and leaving families reeling from spiraling mortgage costs calls this whole honours system into disrepute.

But Ms Truss said in a statement: “I am delighted these champions for the conservative causes of freedom, limited government and a proud sovereign Britain have been suitably honoured.”

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