A Cabinet minister has said he believes the House of Lords needs to be reformed, “not least” because of its size, as details emerged of MPs expected to be granted peerages in Boris Johnson’s resignation honors list.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said it would be “very difficult” to get political consensus on any potential shake-up, despite his belief that there are “few” in the House of Commons who would oppose the change.
It comes as Mr Johnson asked MPs he has nominated for peerage to delay his induction so as not to trigger a by-election.
All the politicians are understood to have agreed to postpone the run to the Lords until the end of the current Parliament to spare Rishi Sunak the challenges.
Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries is expected to be on Johnson’s resignation honors list.
The Times suggested that so are Cop26 chairman Alok Sharma, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and former minister Nigel Adams.
Sources close to Johnson did not deny the report, which also said his former chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, MP Ben Gascoigne and advisers Ross Kempsell and Charlotte Owen will be peerages.
Asked if he thought it was appropriate that service to a prime minister should be rewarded in this way, Stride said it would not be right for him to “start giving opinions on individual appointments”.
But he said he believes the House of Lords needs reform, noting that it has grown beyond the size of the Chinese Communist Party’s central committee.
He told Times Radio: “The House of Commons as a body in general would probably not be happy with the size of the House of Lords, the fact that … what is effectively an undemocratic body perhaps has a role in certain areas that it does.
“I think there are few in the House of Commons who would not say there should be changes.”
But he said any prospect of a shake-up has been hampered by the fact that MPs have “never been able to come together around a single solution”.
He added: “If your question is, does the House of Lords need reform? I think absolutely.
“Not least to the point you’re raising: its size, which has now grown to, I believe, over 800 members, which is larger than the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
“I think there’s room for change, but it’s one of those things that’s been very difficult to get a political consensus on.”