Theresa May's husband Philip to be knighted as part of new honours list

July 31, 2020

The husband of former prime minister Theresa May is to be knighted as part of the government's latest honours list.

Philip May is being honoured for "political service", according to a list of nominations published on Friday, which also showed Jo Johnson, the brother of current PM Boris Johnson, is to join the House of Lords.

Ex-England cricketer Sir Ian Botham, who supported Brexit, newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev and former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson will also be made peers, along with former Tory chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.

The 36-strong list features numerous former MPs who rebelled against the Labour position to back Brexit, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin, and Gisela Stuart.

The list also confirms that former House of Commons speaker John Bercow was not given a peerage - a break with the usual precedent but one that had been rumoured for some time given his run-ins with Downing Street.

Other notable names joining the Lords are the prime minister's chief adviser Sir Edward Lister, head of the Institute of Ideas Claire Fox and Charles Moore, the Telegraph columnist.

Boris Johnson's brother Jo quit as a minister and MP last September, citing an "unresolvable tension" between "family loyalty and the national interest".

Mr Lebedev, the son of a former KGB operative, owns the Independent and Evening Standard - and has long been a friend of Mr Johnson.

The prime minister was quickly accused of cronyism by elevating his allies following the publication of the list of nominations.

The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, also accused Mr Johnson of "a massive policy U-turn" by further swelling the upper chamber's size.

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The former Conservative cabinet minister said the House of Lords will "soon be nearly 830 strong" and accused the PM of "the abandonment of an established policy" to reduce its size.

"It is also a vast pity that the list has been announced within the first few days of the summer recess when neither House is sitting, and the government cannot be challenged in parliament," Lord Fowler said.

The Liberal Democrats' leader in the Lords, Lord Newby, added: "By giving a large number of his cronies peerages, he has shown that the Tories have abandoned any pretence of reducing the size of the bloated House of Lords."

SNP MP Pete Wishart said the move was "the worst kind of cronyism", as he accused the PM of giving jobs for life to "friends and those who have done him favours".

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