Jeremy Corbyn ‘made a last-ditch bid’ to secure peerages for ex-Speaker John Bercow and his former deputy Tom Watson
- He had put both controversial figures forward for elevation to the Upper House
- But they are understood to have been rejected after the usual vetting process
- He may have made a new bid just before he was succeeded by Sir Keir Starmer
Jeremy Corbyn tried to use the dying days of his Labour leadership to secure peerages for ex-Speaker John Bercow and his former deputy Tom Watson, sources claimed last night.
Mr Corbyn had previously put both controversial figures forward for elevation to the Upper House, alongside his key aide Karie Murphy – but all three are understood to have been rejected following the usual vetting process.
However, he is understood to have made a fresh bid just before he was succeeded by Sir Keir Starmer in April.
Mr Corbyn sparked surprise earlier this year by using three of his eight nominations for the forthcoming Dissolution Honours to propose the controversial trio.
Mr Corbyn had previously put both controversial figures forward for elevation to the Upper House. Pictured: John Bercow in 2019 when he was Speaker of the House of Commons
Pictured: Mr Corbyn with his key aide Karie Murphy as he arrives in Labour Party headquarters in central London on June 9, 2017
Sources say that after the Lords’ Appointments Commission – which ensures that nominees are ‘in good standing’ – blocked his requests for them, Mr Corbyn turned down the chance to propose alternative names.
Friends of Ms Murphy, his former chief of staff, deny reports that she went to Mr Corbyn’s London home to ask him to resubmit her name and ‘stood over him’ while he did so.
Mr Watson’s nomination is believed to have been blocked because of his role in highlighting fantasist Carl Beech’s false allegations of a paedophile ring in Westminster which led to dawn raids on the homes of the late military chief Lord Bramall, former Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan and ex-MP Harvey Proctor.
Mr Corbyn he is understood to have made a fresh bid just before he was succeeded by Sir Keir Starmer in April. Pictured: Jeremy Corbyn’s former deputy Tom Watson
Mr Bercow’s nomination sparked fury from Leave-voting Tory MPs over his alleged bias against Brexit.
His nomination was reportedly blocked over concerns that Mr Corbyn was not entitled to nominate a former Conservative MP.
But Mr Bercow was also at the centre of bullying allegations, which he denies.
Mr Bercow has since spoken of his disappointment at not being offered the peerage traditionally conferred on retiring Speakers.
Sources said Ms Murphy’s peerage was not approved because of an ongoing inquiry into how Labour handled antisemitism complaints.
That report, by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, is due to be published within weeks and some Labour figures last night urged the appointments commission to look again at Ms Murphy’s nomination once the findings were public.
She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Under honours rules, Mr Corbyn would have been discreetly notified that some of his recommendations had been ditched and given the opportunity to put forward substitutes.
But last night, one Labour source said: ‘We’re heard that he was about do just that but, at the last minute, he changed his mind and just put three rejected names back in again.’
Mr Corbyn was unavailable for comment last night but allies deny he had to resubmit names for peerages.
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