THE former MP for Barrow has been awarded a peerage.

It was reported last month that John Woodcock, who represented the Barrow and Furness constituency between 2010 and 2019 - first for Labour, then for his final year in the role as an independent MP - would enter the House of Lords.

Yesterday, this was made official when it was announced that the Queen had conferred the ex-MP for Furness with the state honour.

Responding to the news, Mr Woodcock confirmed that he would retain his role as counter terrorism envoy for the Government alongside his new role in the Lords.

He said: “It is a huge honour to be put forward to become a peer by Her Majesty the Queen and I am looking forward to serving my country from the House of Lords.

“I have agreed with the Prime Minister that I will continue my work as the UK’s special envoy on countering violent extremism as a non-aligned member of the upper house, and I am relishing the chance to speak up once again for the causes I championed as an MP and for the community we love.”

He added: “Also, I am delighted to discover that my friend [former MP for Workington] Sue Hayman will be joining me in the Lords. She will be another strong voice for the area.”

Commenting on the 36 new appointments yesterday, Darren Hughes, CEO of UK democratic renewal campaign group the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Based on the average claim of a peer, the 36 new peers are likely to cost £1.1m a year in expenses from the taxpayer.

“By appointing a host of ex-MPs, party loyalists and his own brother, the PM is inviting total derision. That he can get away with it shows what a private member’s club this house is.

“The Lords was already the largest second chamber in the world. There are now over 800 unelected peers, voting on our laws for life. Is packing the Lords with party loyalists really a priority as a pandemic rages across the world? This move is an absolute insult to voters. This is making a mockery of democracy.

"We need to see it scrapped."