Liz Truss sparks outrage with resignation honors for allies

Liz Truss, Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, has handed out peerages and other honors to 11 political allies despite staying in office for only 49 days, sparking a backlash.

Her resignation honors list rewards a key Brexit architect and a major donor to the Conservative Party with seats in the House of Lords.

Former prime ministers are entitled to gift knighthoods, peerages and other honors to colleagues and allies upon leaving office. But current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced calls to block Truss from submitting a list, given that she served such a short and controversial tenure, which ended with her resignation in October 2022 after a tax-cutting budget proposal sent markets into meltdown.

Nevertheless, Truss was permitted to send three close allies to the House of Lords — Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit; Jon Moynihan, a Tory donor and Vote Leave chairman; and her former deputy chief of staff Ruth Porter. She also nominated several former advisers and Conservative lawmakers for lesser honors.

Opposition politicians blasted both Truss and Sunak for going ahead with the list.

“Liz Truss was prime minister for 40-odd days. She and her conservative colleagues pushed the economy off a cliff,” Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth told the BBC. “Families across the country are paying more on their mortgage, more in tax, more on their credit cards as a consequence of decisions taken by Liz Truss. And these are rewards for failure,” he said.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said that the “shameless move to reward Liz Truss’s car crash cronies is matched only by Sunak’s weakness in failing to block it. Truss handing out gongs after blowing a hole in the public finances and leaving families reeling from spiralling mortgage costs calls this whole honors system into disrepute.”

The controversy follows a public row between Sunak and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the latter’s honors list this past summer.

Truss, meanwhile, said in a statement that she was “delighted these champions for the conservative causes of freedom, limited government and a proud and sovereign Britain have been suitably honored.”