APPOINTING a former Oxford MP to the House of Lords showed a clear disregard for a key report that calls for fewer peers, the Liberal Democrats said.

Nicola Blackwood, who represented Oxford West and Abingdon from 2010 until 2017, was appointed by Theresa May as a parliamentary under secretary in the Department for Health and Social Care.

Ms Blackwood lost her parliamentary seat to current Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran in 2017.

Dick Newby, the leader o the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, said: “With the announcement of another Tory peerage for life, the Prime Minister continues to move away from the proposals set out in the Burns Report which would ensure a fair reduction of numbers in the House of Lords."

The Burns Report, which had representation from all parties and crossbenchers, called for members of the chamber to be whittled down to 600 and elected for 15-year terms.

It was published in October 2017 but progress has been slow since then.

Lord Newby added: “The proposed reforms are completely undermined by this appointment.

"If we are to make serious progress with reform of the House of Lords we need cross-party agreement and, crucially, cross-party commitment."

Ms Blackwood tweeted: "Thank you for so many kind messages. I am simply delighted to be rejoining [the Department for Health and Social Care] as Minister for Innovation. Looking forward to getting started."