Theresa May is expected to create around 10 new Conservative peers in an attempt to force the EU withdrawal bill through the House of Lords without further government defeats.

The Lords inflicted 15 defeats on the government over the Brexit bill, and Theresa May hopes that by packing the upper house with more Conservative political appointees she might be able to swing the balance in her favour. Those expected to be elevated include former ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley and former Tory MPs Andrew Tyrie, Sir Edward Garnier and Julian Brazier.

The prime minister is also rumoured to be keen to enoble former DUP MP William McCrea, which would add a further pro-Brexit vote in the house, but the process has been delayed by serious concerns from across the benches.

Lord Adonis dismissed May’s plans as “a classic example of packing the Lords to try and make Brexit easier to endorse”.

Under Britain’s uncodified constitution, the two main parties are meant to have a similar number of peers on the upper chamber to reduce the impact of any rise in populism in the House of Commons from either the left or the right. Currently, the Conservatives have 244 peers, with Labour trailing on 187 and the Liberal Democrats with 98.

May has previously spoken on reducing the number of peers in the Lords down from its current total of 780 to around 600, but it appears her commitment to push through Brexit takes priority over all other policies and concerns.

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