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UK's Johnson names brother and Brexiteers to House of Lords

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 file photo, Britain's Conservative Party lawmaker Jo Johnson arrives at Downing Street in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, lawmaker Jo Johnson was on the list. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 file photo, Britain's Conservative Party lawmaker Jo Johnson arrives at Downing Street in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, lawmaker Jo Johnson was on the list. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

Credit: Alberto Pezzali

Credit: Alberto Pezzali

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has named 36 new members to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday, including his brother, several prominent Brexit supporters and a Russian-born newspaper owner whose father was a KGB agent.

The list of new peers also includes Brexit-backing former lawmakers and ex-cricket star Ian Botham, a vocal proponent of leaving the European Union.

Former Treasury chiefs Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, who both opposed Brexit, were also appointed to the Lords. So was Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the Independent and Evening Standard newspapers. His father, Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, once worked for the KGB.

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is on the list, along with Johnson’s chief of staff Eddie Lister and the prime minister’s anti-Brexit brother Jo Johnson, who quit the government last year in opposition to its policies.

Most of the appointees are allied with Johnson’s governing Conservative Party, though the list also includes several former opposition Labour Party lawmakers who supported Brexit, Britain historic departure from the European Union.

A notable omission is former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow. It’s customary for ex-speakers to be appointed to the Lords, but Bercow infuriated the Conservative government by aiding lawmakers’ efforts to change the course of Brexit.

The new members will be given aristocratic titles — baron or baroness — and will join almost 800 others in the House of Lords.

The chamber reviews legislation passed by the elected House of Commons, and for most of its 900-year history was composed of hereditary nobles. Nowadays members are appointed for life by the government and are a mix of former lawmakers, other notables and political donors.

There are frequent calls to reform the Lords on the grounds that the body is unwieldy, unaccountable and out of touch.

The Speaker of the Lords, Norman Fowler, accused the Conservative government of reneging on a promise to trim the size of the upper house.

Scottish National Party lawmaker Pete Wishart, meanwhile, called Johnson's appointments “the worst kind of cronyism.”

FILE - In this Thursday, April 19, 2012 file photo, Britain's Minister of State for Justice Ken Clarke speaks to the media during a news conference at the Council of Europe Conference in Brighton, England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Chancellor Ken Clarke was on the list. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, April 19, 2012 file photo, Britain's Minister of State for Justice Ken Clarke speaks to the media during a news conference at the Council of Europe Conference in Brighton, England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Chancellor Ken Clarke was on the list. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool, File)

Credit: Alastair Grant

Credit: Alastair Grant

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 file photo, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists Ruth Davidson addresses delegates during a speech at the Conservative Party Conference at the ICC, in Birmingham, England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is on the list. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 file photo, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists Ruth Davidson addresses delegates during a speech at the Conservative Party Conference at the ICC, in Birmingham, England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is on the list. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

Credit: Rui Vieira

Credit: Rui Vieira

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 file photo, Conservative Party lawmaker and former Chancellor, Philip Hammond, leaves Downing Street in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Chancellor Philip Hammond was on the list. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 file photo, Conservative Party lawmaker and former Chancellor, Philip Hammond, leaves Downing Street in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named 36 new members of to Parliament’s unelected House of Lords on Friday July 31, 2020, former Chancellor Philip Hammond was on the list. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

Credit: Alberto Pezzali

Credit: Alberto Pezzali