Boris Johnson has criticised moves to increase the daily allowance for members of the House of Lords, after he was pressured on the issue by the SNP.
Peers currently receive an allowance of £313 a day, but under new proposals that is due to rise to £323 — meaning members of the upper chamber will be able to enjoy an annual tax-free income of more than £48,000.
SNP MP Kirsten Oswald pointed to the fact that the monthly allowance for a single person on Universal Credit is just £317 and asked if this was truly a government intent on “levelling up” the country.
In his response to the point, Mr Johnson sparked outrage by saying he hated to agree with “these people” — in reference to the SNP.
“These people” https://t.co/8KqhHkJ52G
— Kirsten Oswald MP (@kirstenoswald) February 12, 2020
“Well I hate agreeing with these people. Actually I do find that it is odd that the House of Lords has chosen to do that, but it is a decision for them”, he said.
The prime minister’s comments came as former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she would give “serious consideration” to joining the Lords if offered a peerage.
She told DC Thomson’s The Stooshie podcast: “I don’t know if this is being offered – but if it is, I would need to give it serious consideration.”
The Commons question session also saw difficult questions for the prime minister over his deportation of foreign criminals policy.
Jeremy Corbyn questioned whether Mr Johnson could have been deported to the United States because he “dabbled in class A drugs” and “conspired” to beat up a journalist.
The Labour leader provoked a furious reaction from the Conservative benches after asking the prime minister if there is “one rule for young black boys from the Caribbean and another for white boys from the United States”.
New York-born Mr Johnson said he believed Mr Corbyn had demeaned himself and had conflated the Windrush generation with what he described as foreign national offenders being deported to Jamaica.
Some 50 people were originally expected to be on a chartered deportation flight to Jamaica that left the UK at around 7.30am on Tuesday.
But it took off with 17 on board after a last-minute legal battle between the Government and human rights campaigners.
Officials and ministers have said all were foreign criminals who committed serious offences, although campaigners, supported by 150 MPs, say they came to the country as children, are “British in every meaningful way”, and some were sentenced for one-time drug offences when they were young.
Mr Corbyn said the Government has “learned nothing” from the Windrush scandal, adding: “This cruel and callous Government is trying to mislead the British people into thinking it’s solely deporting foreign nationals who are guilty of murder, rape and other very serious offences.
“This is clearly not the case. Take the example of a young black boy who came to the UK aged five and is now being deported after serving time for a drugs offence.”
Mr Johnson said: “I think quite frankly that Mr Corbyn demeans himself and by the way besmirches the reputation of the Windrush generation who came to this country to work in our public services, to teach our children in this country, to make lives better for people in this country.
“He has no right to conflate them with those foreign national offenders that we are deporting today.”