UK Politics

Is Nigel Farage heading for the Lords?

Nigel Farage Image copyright PA

He has been in the European Parliament since 1999, failed to get elected to Westminster seven times, and recently made it to Trump Tower as a guest of the US president-elect.

But could the House of Lords be Nigel Farage's next stop?

Prime Minister Theresa May declined to rule out the idea when it was put to her during Prime Minister's Questions.

This has reignited a debate about whether UKIP's acting leader could soon be sitting on the famous red benches.


'Not discussed in public'

SNP MP George Kerevan raised the question during PMQs, asking Mrs May whether there had been any "official conversations" about giving Mr Farage a peerage.

As MPs laughed at the question, the prime minister replied: "All I can say to him, I'm afraid, is that such matters are normally never discussed in public."

The matter was raised with Mrs May's official spokeswoman after PMQs, who said: "We don't comment on individuals. There's a process to be followed.

"You will have heard the prime minister talk in October about her views on the honours system and making sure that it recognises people who really contribute to society and their communities."


Under-represented?

Supporters of the move point to UKIP's record in elections - it comfortably won the 2014 European elections, got the third largest vote share in last year's general election, and achieved its long-held goal of an EU exit in June's referendum.

Despite its vote share, UKIP has been left with just one MP and three members of the House of Lords - and these all switched allegiance to the party - compared with the Lib Dems' 104.

Supporters say this is unfair and means the party is under-represented.

Mr Farage has been promoting his own role recently, offering his services to the government as an intermediary to Mr Trump.

However, in July he said his "political ambition has been achieved" with the Brexit vote.


Who backs it?

Image caption Natalie Bennett has suggested Mr Farage deserves a place in the Lords

It's not too surprising that support for Mr Farage's peerage comes from UKIP leadership contenders Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans - perhaps more so that former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett also backs his elevation to the Lords.

"No matter how deeply we disagree with UKIP's politics, they should also be far better represented in the House of Lords," she said last year.

Conservative backbencher Peter Bone told the BBC he would have put Mr Farage in the Lords after the general election.


Who decides?

Although life peers are appointed by the Queen, it is the prime minister who nominates them.

The leader of the opposition and other party leaders are also given a set allocation, but UKIP does not, which has long been a bone of contention with Mr Farage's party.

One-off announcements can also be made by the government to award peerages to people appointed as ministers who are not MPs.