Major Tory donor among 13 new peers named in honours list | Honours system

A major Conservative Party donor believed to have been on Boris Johnson's initial resignation honors list is among 13 new peers announced by the government on Friday evening, including eight Conservatives.

Stuart Marks, a tech entrepreneur who served as senior treasurer of the Conservatives, has been awarded a life peerage, official announcement says. He personally donated £119,500 to the party and a further £56,500 through his company.

A series of reports named Marks among those nominated for peers on Johnson's resignation honors list, alongside MPs including Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams.

However, Marks, Dorries and Adams were among several names believed to have been removed from the list.

Another donor who handed over a peerage on Friday evening – as the Commons began a week-long holiday – was Franck Petitgas, who worked for Rishi Sunak as a special adviser on business and investments. He has already given £35,000 to the Tories.

Other new Conservative peers include Paul Goodman, the former MP who edits the ConservativeHome website; businesswoman and disability activist Rosa Monckton; and two senior councilors – John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, and James Jamieson, former chairman of the Local Government Association.

Labor nominated four people for peers, including Ayesha Hazarika, the broadcaster who was previously a special adviser; John Hannett, president of the Usdaw traders' union, and Barrister Gerald Shamash, a lawyer for the Labor Party.

Plaid Cymru has named a peer, 27-year-old former Welsh Senedd chief of staff Carmen Smith.

The new appointments bring the size of the Lords to just a few peers, from 800 – there were 784 peers still active before the last crop. It is the largest legislative chamber in the world, after the National People's Congress of China.

A series of reports and recommendations suggest reducing the size of the Upper House. A committee set up by Norman Fowler, then Lord Speaker, recommended in 2017 that it be reduced to a maximum of 600 members, with new peers limited to a 15-year term.

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However, since then, a series of prime ministers have created even more peers, some of whom have been more active and diligent than others.

A Guardian analysis in 2022 found that of 318 possible sessions that newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev could have attended since Johnson made him a peer, he has attended four, or 1.25% of the total.

In the four years since he was made a peer in November 2019, Lebedev has spoken twice, less than 10 minutes in total, and has never voted.

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