British PM Boris Johnson hands brother top honour

LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday gave his brother Jo – a former junior minister who quit over his elder sibling’s approach to leaving the European Union (EU) – a top honour with a seat in the upper House of Lords.

Former premier Theresa May’s husband Philip will also receive a knighthood “for political service”, the government said, as it unveiled a list of 36 nominations.

The former House of Commons speaker John Bercow, who repeatedly tried to foil the government’s Brexit plans, however, was denied a seat in the upper house. He is the first former speaker in over two centuries not to receive the honour.

Other notable new lords include the Russian-born British newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev and the Brexit-supporting cricketer Ian Botham.

But the nominations drew scorn from Johnson’s political foes.

He has displayed “the worst kind of cronyism” by giving jobs for life to “friends and those who have done him favours”, opposition Scottish National Party lawmaker Pete Wishart said.

A 2018 report accused Bercow of presiding over a culture in which “bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive” in Parliament.

He denied the allegations.