Just before David Cameron left his post as Prime Minister he created an honours list for those to be considered for peerage, from most accounts the list was long and had a number of names many considered to have “bought” their way onto it. Many of the British people already believe that to be the case, and the current list seems to make an open declaration as to the truth of that matter.
Committee on Standards in Public Life Chairman, Lord Bew, said, “The British people themselves think you would only give money to a party unless you expect a peerage or some such goody, but they also believe they should not have to contribute a penny towards funding political parties – which would solve the problem.”
Originally it was believed the list contained about 15 names, some of them former aides and party donors – now the speculation is there may be 40 or more on the list. Though the committee that reviews the honours list does not have the power to veto any names, they can make suggestions, and Theresa May, the new Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party has indicated she will probably strike any name from the list the group objects to.
When it comes time for Theresa May to make her first honours list, it is expected she will break with the expectation of granting a place because of large donations. One government source said, “Anyone who knows her attitude to these things would know this would be something she would want to look at. She is a woman who does things properly.”
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, challenges the new PM and new Tory Party chairman to “restart cross-party talks on funding for political parties. Big money from union barons … from rich donors must not continue to warp our politics. The whole sorry saga of Cameron’s cronies shows how we must kick big money out of politics.”
Interestingly, one former advisor for Downing Street, Rohan Silva, refused an honour, saying, “I think the real scandal over the honours system over the past years, decades, is the fact so few entrepreneurs, so few people who take real risks and build companies get honours,”
And another person presumed to be on the list, head of Vitol Oil, Ian Taylor asked to be removed from the list if his name is there. He said, “In these circumstances, I think it is right I request that my name does not go forward if indeed I was being considered.” Now it becomes a waiting game if this scandal can turn into a new approach in the future, creating the public funding of political parties the U.K. in future.
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