Theresa May hands gongs to a powerful Parliamentary ally and several pro-Brexit MPs in the New Year honours today.
The chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tories, Graham Brady, is awarded a knighthood.
A veteran MP and close ally of the PM, he gave her his staunch support after the Tories lost their majority in June’s snap election.
Three other senior backbench Tories – who all backed Leave in the EU referendum – are also honoured.
The awards prompted claims last night that Mrs May was handing out ‘political favours’.
The chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tories, Graham Brady, has been awarded a knighthood as part of the New Year honours list. He is pictured with Theresa May
But the list was a far cry from previous ones. David Cameron was heavily criticised for rewarding an array of donors, advisers and members of his ‘chumocracy’.
By contrast, there are no major Tory donors on today’s list, and none of Mrs May’s former political advisers and spin doctors who lost their jobs after the election were given gongs. There were also knighthoods for two Labour MPs.
Officials said the list reflected Mrs May’s determination to prioritise ‘voluntary contribution and public service’.
The most notable political name was Sir Graham’s. He is the voice of the Tory backbenches at Westminster.
Vice-chairman of the committee Cheryl Gillan MP (pictured) has been made a Dame
A loyalist, he urged her not to quit after the election and provided critical political support when her enemies were plotting against her this summer.
He has repeatedly backed her to stay on as leader and has said: ‘I want Theresa May to carry on leading the Conservative Party. I have no plans to change that position.’
Knighthood for top pollster hailed as a ‘beacon of objectivity in a world of fake news’
Pictured: Professor John Curtice
At a time when pollsters have a knack for getting it wrong, he is the elections expert who has politicians hanging on his every word.
Professor John Curtice, who is awarded a knighthood, is a central fixture of polling night broadcasts.
It was his exit poll in June that warned Theresa May she would lose her Commons majority.
He was also credited with recognising the late surge for Leave in the EU referendum campaign. His expertise has seen former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish hail him as a ‘beacon of objectivity in a world of fake news’.
The softly-spoken professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who has the look of an eccentric scientist, has been involved in BBC election nights since 1979.
Last night the 64-year-old said he was ‘surprised and humbled’ to be knighted. ‘Just six months ago the exit poll I led surprised everyone with a shock prediction that went on to be uncannily accurate,’ he said.
‘Now it is my turn to be surprised and humbled by the gracious decision to grant me a knighthood.
‘It is not something I ever expected to happen. But it appears that my attempts to analyse public opinion… are appreciated.’
Last night Sir Graham said: ‘I am delighted. It’s a huge honour. My family are thrilled.’
Two other members of the 1922 Committee executive are also honoured, with vice-chairman Cheryl Gillan being made a dame while treasurer Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is knighted.
All three are long-standing MPs with decades behind them in the Commons. All backed Leave in the EU referendum, as did a fourth Tory MP to be honoured, veteran ex-minister Christopher Chope, who is knighted.
But the awards for leavers were offset by knighthoods for Nick Clegg and, for Labour, Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, and Preston MP Mark Hendrick.
There is also an OBE for Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who missed out on an honour despite calls for him to be knighted for his role in campaigning for Brexit, said the awards were for ‘services to the establishment’.
But he also praised the gongs given to prominent Leavers.
He said: ‘It’s services to the establishment in a sense. I suppose it’s a relief to see any Leavers on the list. The reason it’s a surprise to see Leavers on the list is previously there haven’t been any.
‘But I don’t think it’s a reward for Brexit, but a reward for work to the party. The Government’s priority is keeping the party together.’
Asked if he would want to be included in a future honours list, MEP Mr Farage replied: ‘It’s never been an aspiration for me but an aspiration for many who support me. What will be will be.’
Sir Geoffrey, MP for The Cotswolds, said: ‘It’s great to be recognised for having worked for a long number of years on behalf of my community.
One doesn’t go into becoming a Member of Parliament with the expectation of anything – you are there to do a job, help people, make people’s lives a little easier and better.’
He added: ‘My daughter is about to have a baby so we’ve got a double family celebration.’
Treasurer of the 1922 committee Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (pictured) has been knighted
Sir Geoffrey said he believed it was ‘completely coincidental’ when asked if Brexit had influenced any of the honours.
In October last year Mrs May took a veiled swipe at her predecessor Mr Cameron’s resignation honours list, which was packed with cronies.
She argued the awards should go only to those who are ‘really contributing’ to society and that the emphasis should be on those who have run charities or put time and effort into their local communities.
Mr Cameron knighted his former spin doctor Craig Oliver, and handed out peerages 13 peerages including to No 10 aides. His wife’s stylist received an OBE.
The awards for leavers were offset by knighthoods for former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (pictured) and, for Labour, Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, and Preston MP Mark Hendrick
David Leakey, who finishes a seven-year term as Black Rod in Parliament this weekend, is made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) by the Queen.
Cabinet Office mandarins are to investigate after several names on this year’s list including former Beatle Ringo Starr were leaked to the media ahead of today’s official announcement.
Sir Jonathan Stephens, head of the main honours committee, said it was ‘disappointing’ the names had been made public.
He added: ‘We have tightened up procedures but we will look again at the system.’
Award for coalition minister who made her political comeback
There is also an OBE for Liberal Democrat East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson (pictured)
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said she was ‘delighted’ to have been included in the New Year Honours.
The award of a CBE comes just six months after the 37-year-old made her political comeback, retaking the East Dunbartonshire constituency she had first won in 2005, and shortly after she announced her second pregnancy.
Ms Swinson was just 25 and the baby of the House – the name given to the youngest MP – when she first elected, taking the seat from Labour in a surprise result.
After the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Conservatives she became part of the government, serving as a both employment relations and consumer affairs minister and equalities minister, using the latter role to bring in shared parental leave.
But she lost her seat in the 2015 election, as voters turned against the Liberal Democrats, with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP winning all but three of the Scottish seats at Westminster.
When Theresa May called a snap election for June 2017, she saw a chance to return to the House of Commons, and stood again in East Dunbartonshire, winning the seat back for her party.
She was seen as a leadership contender when Tim Farron resigned as leader of the Lib Dems, but announced instead that she would put herself forward for the position of deputy leader – a role which she won unopposed.
After learning of her CBE, Ms Swinson said: ‘I’m delighted that my work has been recognised in this way. It wouldn’t be possible without the support of my constituents, whom I’d like to thank for giving me the opportunity to serve as their MP once more.
‘It is an honour to be listed among so many remarkable people from all walks of life, making amazing contributions right across our country.’
Black Rod honoured by the Queen
Mr Leakey, who served in the military for almost 40 years rising to the rank of Lieutenant General, has been awarded the honour in the New Year Honours after almost six years in his job
David Leakey, the outgoing holder of the Black Rod parliamentary post, has been made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) by the Queen.
Mr Leakey, who served in the military for almost 40 years rising to the rank of Lieutenant General, has been awarded the honour in the New Year Honours after almost six years in his job.
Black Rod is the senior official responsible for maintaining order at the House of Lords, and is thrust into the spotlight each year at the State Opening of Parliament.
The official is sent to bang on the door of the House of Commons to summon MPs to hear the Queen’s Speech.
The first female Black Rod in the 650-year history of the role, Sarah Clarke, has been named as Mr Leakey’s replacement and will be known as the Lady Usher of the Black Rod.
Honours under the RVO are given by the Queen to people who have served her or the monarchy in a personal way. It is bestowed independently of 10 Downing Street.
Also recognised is trainer Nicky Henderson, who trains horses for the Queen, who has been made a lieutenant of the RVO.
He has trained hundreds of winners and been a leading figure in jump racing for decades.
Amanda Foster, a senior communications officer for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, has also been made a lieutenant of the RVO.
Mrs Foster was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order in 2002.