Welcome to the People’s Congress of Cronies

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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The House of Lords is bursting at the seams.

The Upper Chamber, with the recently announced Dissolution Honours, now has 826 Members, more than twice the number of seats that are available for them - and making it the second largest legislative assembly in the world, exceeded only by the People’s Congress of China.

David Cameron has appointed 26 new Conservative peers, partly to ensure the Lords do their duty as a revising chamber and then allow the Commons, the elected body, to get its legislation through. His list is controversial to say the least, with new allegations of cash for honours and blatant cronyism.

There are eyebrows raised at the elevation of lingerie entrepreneur Michelle Mone, with people asking how she’s qualified for inclusion in the list.

Another surprise choice is that of Douglas Hogg, a former Conservative Minister, who did not fight either the 2010 or 2015 general elections after claims that he sought taxpayers’ money, during the expenses scandal, to have his moat cleaned. The Tories are still short of an overall majority in the House of Lords and the Prime Minister is hoping he has sufficient supporters there to get his legislation through and on to the Statute Book. But there are now at least signs that, after more than a century of botched attempts to reform the Upper House, any further reforms will be kicked into the long grass and the Chamber will retain for some time to come its present status quo.

James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, says he is deeply disappointed at figures which show that in the year to the end of March those coming in exceeded those going out of the country by 330,000. Disappointed he may be, but he certainly should not be surprised.

Britain has now got to act as well as talk tough. Whatever happened to the plan to allow deported migrants to appeal - but from outside these shores? The plan to imprison people working illegally here, as well as their employers, is welcome.

At the moment schools and many public facilities are creaking under the strain.

But far more drastic action will have to be taken or Brokenshire, in a year’s time, will be even more disappointed than he is now.