John Bercow could be blocked from peerage unless he joins Labour

Andrew Woodcock
Sky News

John Bercow could be blocked from getting a peerage unless he joins the Labour Party, it has emerged.

Reports over the weekend suggested the former Commons Speaker is on a list of nominees for peerages drawn up by the Labour leader, alongside his own chief of staff Katie Murphy.

In a highly unusual move, Mr Corbyn has reportedly stepped in to nominate Mr Bercow for a seat in the House of Lords after Mr Johnson broke with convention by failing to put him forward for a peerage.

Mr Bercow’s nomination is likely to anger Conservative Brexiteers, who saw him as a block to passing Brexit legislation over the past few years.

And the decision to nominate Ms Murphy has also sparked a major row, as her role in the handling of Labour’s antisemitism complaints is still under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It is understood that Number 10 has yet to receive any opposition nominations for the dissolution honours list, published shortly after the end of any parliament.

But Boris Johnson’s official spokesman indicated that Mr Corbyn might be breaching convention if he put former Tory MP Bercow’s name forward.

“It is a long-standing convention that leaders of the opposition can nominate individuals representing their party for peerages,” said the spokesman.

A move to Labour would mark the latest step in a long political journey by Mr Bercow, who was a right-wing Monday Club firebrand in his youth and served as Conservative MP for Buckingham from 1997, but moved towards the centre after marrying Labour-backing wife Sally in 2002.

He stopped taking the Conservative whip on his election as Speaker in 2009, and some Tory backbenchers accused him of favouring the opposition from the chair.

There was no immediate response from Mr Corbyn's office to reports about his supposed nomination.

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