“There is no link between party donations and nominations to sit in the House of Lords”

Nigel Adams, Cabinet Office Minister, House of Commons

November 24, 2021

Facts

During a House of Lords Appointments meeting in the House of Commons Brendan O'Hara referenced comments made by the Prime Minister to the Liaison Committee a week prior and said “the Prime Minister’s answer comes dangerously close to an admission of selling peerages”.

Nigel Adams responded by saying “There is no link between party donations and nominations to sit in the House of Lords.”

A report by the investigative website Open Democracy in collaboration with the Sunday Times recorded that “In the past seven years, every former party treasurer has given at least this amount [3 million]  – and all but the most recently retired have been offered a seat in the House of Lords…Insiders claim that peerages are being given to wealthy businessmen, in what “appeared to be a reward” for bankrolling Boris Johnson’s party.”

The report added that “Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, successive Prime Ministers have elevated nine of the party’s former treasurers to the Lords. Each of those appointed since 2014 has donated at least £3m.

In total, 22 of the party’s biggest donors have been made lords in the past 11 years. Together they have donated some £54m to the Tories.”

We approached Nigel Adams’ office and the Cabinet Office to give them a chance to comment, but received no response.

Verdict

The Open Democracy investigation stated that “The odds of so many major Tory donors in the UK population all ending up in the House of Lords is equivalent to entering the National Lottery 12 times in a row – and winning the jackpot every time.” We conclude that Nigel Adams was not being straight with MPs when he told the Commons there was “no link between party donations and nominations to sit in the House of Lords.” 

According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” 

Since Mr Adams has not returned to Parliament to correct his misleading statement, it’s fair to conclude he’s in breach of the Ministerial Code.

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