Downing Street has hinted Boris Johnson could try to block a peerage for John Bercow if the former Speaker is nominated by Jeremy Corbyn.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said it would be a break in convention if reports are true that Labour is preparing to put Bercow’s name forward for the dissolution honours list.
It is usual for former Speakers to be nominated for entry to the House of Lords by their own party, and Bercow originally joined the House of Commons as a Conservative MP.
However, Johnson is not expected to offer a peerage to Bercow, who was instrumental in giving parliamentary time to MPs opposed to Brexit.
There were reports over the weekend – not denied by Labour – that Corbyn has included Bercow’s name on a list of nominations by the Labour party.
But No 10 suggested Bercow may have to join Labour if he wants a peerage based on the party’s nomination.
The spokesman said: “It is a long-standing convention for the leader of the opposition to nominate members of their party for a peerage.”
Bercow’s possible nomination has been the subject of controversy, with former Black Rod, Lt Gen David Leakey, telling the LBC radio station it would not be a good idea.
He highlighted criticism of Bercow over his record on tackling bullying in the House of Commons.
An independent report by Dame Laura Cox in October 2018 said there was a tradition of “deference and silence” that “actively sought to cover up abusive conduct” and gave no protection to those reporting bullying or sexual harassment.
It found that parliament’s current leadership was incapable of changing a widespread culture of bullying and harassment, and suggested officials including Bercow should consider standing down.
Labour’s nominations for the House of Lords were also expected to include Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy, despite the current inquiry into how the party has dealt with alleged antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The Jewish Labour Movement said Murphy’s nomination was “deeply inappropriate and must be rescinded immediately”.
“Jeremy Corbyn is using his final weeks in office to reward failure,” the group added.
Labour has declined to comment on reports about the nominations.