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Betty Boothroyd planned to criticise prime ministers for abusing patronage powers.

Betty Boothroyd, the former speaker of the House of Commons, had prepared a valedictory speech for the House of Lords, intending to criticize prime ministers for granting too many peerages to their friends and wealthy party supporters. However, she was unable to deliver the speech due to illness before her passing last February.

In her unpublished speech, Boothroyd expressed her concerns about the excessive use of patronage by successive prime ministers, urging for more restraint in granting peerages. She argued that appointments should not solely be based on personal relationships or financial contributions to the ruling party.

Additionally, Boothroyd advocated for the elimination of hereditary peers in the House of Lords, citing the absurdity of its size with over 800 members. She proposed that all appointments to the House of Lords should be subject to approval by an independent Appointments Commission, with its powers being legally binding.

Boothroyd’s final speech was revealed during her memorial service at Westminster Abbey, and the text was published in the House magazine. Reflecting on her lifelong dedication to parliamentary politics, she emphasized that it was more than just a career for her but an integral part of her identity.

In a separate section of the article, the Guardian encourages readers to support their journalism by subscribing, highlighting the importance of independent investigative reporting in holding the powerful accountable. They stress that even small contributions can make a significant impact in sustaining quality journalism for the future.

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